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The Tibetan Book of the Dead 
Or the After-Death Experiences on the Bardo Plane 

English translation by Lama Kazi Dawa-Samdup 
Compiled and Edited by W. Y. Evans- Wentz 
E-book by Summum 

Foreword 

This book is the first English language translation of the famous Tibetan death text, The Great 
Liberation upon Hearing in the Intermediate State. Also known as the Bardo Thodol which means 
"liberation by hearing on the after death plane" {Bardo: after death plane, Thodol or Thotrol: liberation 
by hearing), it was originally written in the Tibetan language and is meant to be a guide for those who 
have died as they transition from their former life to a new destination. 

The work has been traditionally attributed to Padma-Sambhava, an Indian mystic who was said to have 
introduced Buddhism to Tibet in the 8th century. Legend has it that while visiting Tibet, Padma- 
Sambhava found it necessary to conceal Sanskrit works he had arranged to be written. The Tibetans of 
that time were not ready for the spiritual teachings contained therein, so he hid his texts in strange and 
remote locations, leaving them to be discovered at a later time when their spiritual message could be 
received by those with an open mind. 

The most famous of those that discovered and revealed Padma-Sambhava's writings was Karma 
Lingpa who was born around 1350 CE. According to his biography, Karma Lingpa found several 
hidden texts on top of a mountain in Tibet when he was fifteen years old. Within those texts, he found 
a collection of teachings entitled The Self-Emergence of the Peaceful and Wrathful Deities from 
Enlightened Awareness. These teachings contained the texts of the now famous Great Liberation upon 
Hearing in the Bardo. 

The Tibetan Book of the Dead was first published in 1927 by Oxford University Press, London. Dr. 
Walter Y. Evans-Wentz coined the title because of parallels he found with the writings of the Egyptian 
Book of the Dead. The paperback and hardcover editions of the book contain extensive notes by 
Evans-Wentz about the conclusions he drew from the translation which, some say, were greatly 
influenced by his involvement with Theosophy and neo-Vedantic Hindu views. A later edition of the 
book includes commentary by the renowned psychoanalyst, Dr. Carl Jung, whose insightful essay 
illustrates that this Tibetan text goes beyond a study of Tibetan culture and reaches into a psychology 
that has great relevance to the western world. 

This e-book, made courtesy of Summum, represents the edited English translation taken from the first 
edition. Based upon our copyright status research, this edition appears to be in the United States public 
domain. If you believe this to be incorrect, please contact us with information as to why so that we 
may review your information and remove this e-book if necessary. 



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Book I 



The Chikhai Bardo and the Chonyid Bardo] 

Herein lieth the setting-face-to-face to the reality in the intermediate state: the great deliverance by 
hearing while on the after-death plane, from 'The Profound Doctrine of the Emancipating of the 
Consciousness by Meditation Upon the Peaceful and Wrathful Deities' 



[The Obeisances] 

To the Divine Body of Truth, the Incomprehensible, Bound-less Light; 

To the Divine Body of Perfect Endowment, Who are the Lotus and the Peaceful and the Wrathful 
Deities; 

To the Lotus-born Incarnation, Padma Sambhava, Who is the Protector of all sentient beings; 
To the Gurus, the Three Bodies, obeisance. 



[The Introduction] 

This Great Doctrine of Liberation by Hearing, which conferreth spiritual freedom on devotees of 
ordinary wit while in the Intermediate State, hath three divisions: the preliminaries, the subject-matter, 
and the conclusion. 

At first, the preliminaries, The Guide Series, for emancipating beings, should be mastered by practice. 



[The Transference of the Consciousness-Principle] 

By The Guide, the highest intellects ought most certainly to be liberated; but should they not be 
liberated, then while in the Intermediate State of the Moments of Death they should practice the 
Transference, which giveth automatic liberation by one's merely remembering it. 

Devotees of ordinary wit ought most certainly to be freed thereby; but should they not be freed, then, 
while in the Intermediate State [during the experiencing] of Reality, they should persevere in the 
listening to this Great Doctrine of Liberation by Hearing. 

Accordingly, the devotee should at first examine the symptoms of death as they gradually appear [in 
his dying body], following Self-Liberation [by Observing the] Characteristics [of the] Symptoms of 
Death. Then, when all the symptoms of death are complete [he should] apply the Transference, which 
conferreth liberation by merely remembering [the process]. 



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[The Reading of this Thodol] 



If the Transference hath been effectually employed, there is no need to read this Thodol; but if the 
Transference hath not been effectually employed, then this Thodol is to be read, correctly and 
distinctly, near the dead body. 

If there be no corpse, then the bed or the seat to which the deceased had been accustomed should be 
occupied [by the reader], who ought to expound the power of the Truth. Then, summoning the spirit 
[of the deceased], imagine it to be present there listening, and read. During this time no relative or fond 
mate should be allowed to weep or to wail, as such is not good [for the deceased]; so restrain them. 

If the body be present, just when the expiration hath ceased, either a lama [who hath been as a guru to 
the deceased], or a brother in the Faith whom the deceased trusted, or a friend for whom the deceased 
had great affection, putting the lips close to the ear [of the body] without actually touching it, should 
read this Great Thodol. 



[The Practical Application of this Thodol by the Officiant] 

Now for the explaining of the Thodol itself: 

If thou canst gather together a grand offering, offer it in worship of the Trinity. If such cannot be done, 
then arrange whatever can be gathered together as objects on which thou canst concentrate thy 
thoughts and mentally create as illimitable an offering as possible and worship. 

Then the 'Path of Good Wishes Invoking the Aid of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas' should be recited 
seven times or thrice. 

After that, the Path of Good Wishes Giving Protection from Fear in the Bardo', and the Path of Good 
Wishes for Safe Delivery from the Dangerous Pitfalls of the Bardo', it together with the 'Root Words 
of the Bardo', are to be read distinctly and with the proper intonation. 

Then this Great Thodol is to be read either seven times or thrice, according to the occasion. [First 
cometh] the setting-face-to-face [to the symptoms of death] as they occur during the moments of death; 
[second] the application of the great vivid reminder, the setting-face-to-face to Reality while in the 
Intermediate State; and third, the methods of closing the doors of the womb while in the Intermediate 
State when seeking rebirth. 



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The Chikhai Bardo and the Chonyid Bardo 

• The Obeisances 

• The Introduction 

- The Transference of the Consciousness-Principle 

- The Reading Of This Thodol 

- The Practical Application of this Thodol by the Officiant 

• Part I • 

The Bardo of the Moments of Death 

• Instructions on the Symptoms of Death, or the First Stage of the Chikhai Bardo: The 
Primary Clear Light Seen at the Moment of Death 

• Instructions Concerning the Second Stage of the Chikhai Bardo: The Secondary Clear 
Light Seen Immediately After Death 

• Part II • 

The Bardo of the Experiencing of Reality 

• Introductory Instructions Concerning the Experiencing of Reality During the Third Stage 
of the Bardo, Called the Chonyid Bardo, when the Karmic Apparitions Appear 

• The Dawning of the Peaceful Deities, from the First to the Seventh Day 

- The First Day 

- The Second Day 

- The Third Day 

- The Fourth Day 

- The Fifth Day 

- The Sixth Day 

- The Seventh Day 

• The Dawning of the Wrathful Deities, from the Eight to the Fourteenth Day 

- Introduction 

- The Eighth Day 

- The Ninth Day 

- The Tenth Day 

- The Eleventh Day 

- The Twelfth Day 

- The Thirteenth Day 

- The Fourteenth Day 

• The Conclusion, Showing the Fundamental Importance of the Bardo Teachings 

• Book II • 
The Sidpa Bardo 

• The Obeisances 

• Introductory Verses 

• Part I • 
The After-Death World 



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• The Bardo Body: Its Birth and Its Supernormal Faculties 

• Characteristics of Existence in the Intermediate State 

• The Judgement 

• The All-Determining Influence of Thought 

• The Dawning of the Lights of the Six Lokas 

• Part II • 
The Process of Rebirth 

• The Closing of the Door of the Womb 

- Method of Preventing Entry into a Womb 

- The First Method of Closing the Womb-Door 

- The Second Method of Closing the Womb-Door 

- The Third Method of Closing the Womb-Door 

- The Fourth Method of Closing the Womb-Door 

- The Fifth Method of Closing the Womb-Door 

• The Choosing of the Womb-Door 

- The Premonitory Visions of the Place of Rebirth 

- The Protection Against the Tormenting Furies 

• The Alternative Choosing: Supernormal Birth; or Womb-Birth 

- Supernormal Birth by Transference to a Paradise Realm 

- Womb-Birth: The Return to the Human World 

• The General Conclusion 

• The Appendix • 

I. The Invocation of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas 

II. 'The Path of Good Wishes for Saving from the Dangerous Narrow Passageway of the 
Bardo 1 

III. 'The Root Verses of the Six Bardos' 

IV. 'The Path of Good Wishes which Protecteth from Fear in the Bardo' 
V. The Colophon 



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Parti 



[The Bardo of the Moments of Death] 



[Instructions on the Symptoms of Death, or the First Stage of the Chikhai Bardo: The Primary 

Clear Light Seen at the Moment of Death] 

The first, the setting-face-to-face with the Clear Light, during the Intermediate State of the Moments of 
Death, is: 

Here [some there may be] who have listened much [to religious instructions] yet not recognized; and 
[some] who, though recognizing, are, nevertheless, weak in familiarity. But all classes of individuals 
who have received the practical teachings [called] Guides will, if this be applied to them, be set face to 
face with the fundamental Clear Light; and, without any Intermediate State, they will obtain the 
Unborn Dharma-Kaya, by the Great Perpendicular Path. 

The manner of application is: 

It is best if the guru from whom the deceased received guiding instructions can be had; but if the guru 
cannot be obtained, then a brother of the Faith; or if the latter is also unobtainable, then a learned man 
of the same Faith; or, should all these be unobtainable, then a person who can read correctly and 
distinctly ought to read this many times over. Thereby [the deceased] will be put in mind of what he 
had [previously] heard of the setting-face-to-face and will at once come to recognize that Fundamental 
Light and undoubtedly obtain Liberation. 

As regards the time for the application [of these instructions]: 

When the expiration bath ceased, the vital-force will have sunk into the nerve-centre of Wisdom and 
the Knower will be experiencing the Clear Light of the natural condition. Then, the vital-force, being 
thrown backwards and flying downwards through the right and left nerves, the Intermediate State 
momentarily dawns. 

The above [directions] should be applied before [the vital-force hath] rushed into the left nerve [after 
first having traversed the navel nerve-centre]. 

The time [ordinarily necessary for this motion of the vital-force] is as long as the inspiration is still 
present, or about the time required for eating a meal. 

Then the manner of the application [of the instructions] is: 

When the breathing is about to cease, it is best if the Transference hath been applied efficiently; if [the 
application] hath been inefficient, then [address the deceased] thus: 

O nobly-born (so and so by name), the time hath now come for thee to seek the Path [in reality]. Thy 
breathing is about to cease. Thy guru hath set thee face to face before with the Clear Light; and now 



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thou art about to experience it in its Reality in the Bardo state, wherein all things are like the void and 
cloudless sky, and the naked, spotless intellect is like unto a transparent vacuum without circumference 
or centre. At this moment, know thou thyself; and abide in that state. I, too, at this time, am setting thee 
face to face. 

Having read this, repeat it many times in the ear of the person dying, even before the expiration hath 
ceased, so as to impress it on the mind [of the dying one]. 

If the expiration is about to cease, turn the dying one over on the right side, which posture is called the 
'Lying Posture of a Lion'. The throbbing of the arteries [on the right and left side of the throat] is to be 
pressed. 

If the person dying be disposed to sleep, or if the sleeping state advances, that should be arrested, and 
the arteries pressed gently but firmly. Thereby the vital-force will not be able to return from the 
median-nerve and will be sure to pass out through the Brahmanic aperture. Now the real setting-face- 
to-face is to be applied. 

At this moment, the first [glimpsing] of the Bardo of the Clear Light of Reality, which is the Infallible 
Mind of the Dharma-Kdya, is experienced by all sentient beings. 

The interval between the cessation of the expiration and the cessation of the inspiration is the time 
during which the vital-force remaineth in the median-nerve. 

The common people call this the state wherein the consciousness-principle hath fainted away. The 
duration of this state is uncertain. [It dependeth] upon the constitution, good or bad, and [the state of] 
the nerves and vital-force. In those who have had even a little practical experience of the firm, tranquil 
state of dhydna, and in those who have sound nerves, this state continueth for a long time. 

In the setting-face-to-face, the repetition [of the above address to the deceased] is to be persisted in 
until a yellowish liquid beginneth to appear from the various apertures of the bodily organs [of the 
deceased]. 

In those who have led an evil life, and in those of unsound nerves, the above state endureth only so 
long as would take to snap a finger. Again, in some, it endureth as long as the time taken for the eating 
of a meal. 

In various Tantras it is said that this state of swoon endureth for about three and one -half days. Most 
other [religious treatises] say for four days; and that this setting-face-to-face with the Clear Light ought 
to be persevered in [during the whole time]. 

The manner of applying [these directions] is: 

If [when dying] one be by one's own self capable [of diagnosing the symptoms of death], use [of the 
knowledge] should have been made ere this. If [the dying person be] unable to do so, then either the 
guru, or a shishya, or a brother in the Faith with whom the one [dying] was very intimate, should be 
kept at hand, who will vividly impress upon the one [dying] the symptoms [of death] as they appear in 
due order [repeatedly saying, at first] thus: 



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Now the symptoms of earth sinking into water are come. 

When all the symptoms [of death] are about to be completed, then enjoin upon [the one dying] this 
resolution, speaking in a low tone of voice in the ear: 

O nobly-born (or, if it be a priest, O Venerable Sir), let not thy mind be distracted. 

If it be a brother [in the Faith], or some other person, then call him by name, and [say] thus: 

O nobly-born, that which is called death being come to thee now, resolve thus: 'O this now is the hour 
of death. By taking advantage of this death, I will so act, for the good of all sentient beings, peopling 
the illimitable expanse of the heavens, as to obtain the Perfect Buddhahood, by resolving on love and 
compassion towards [them, and by directing my entire effort to] the Sole Perfection.' 

Shaping the thoughts thus, especially at this time when the Dharma-Kaya of Clear Light [in the state] 
after death can be realized for the benefit of all sentient beings, know that thou art in that state; [and 
resolve] that thou wilt obtain the best boon of the State of the Great Symbol, in which thou art, [as 
follows]: 

'Even if I cannot realize it, yet will I know this Bardo, and, mastering the Great Body of Union in 
Bardo, will appear in whatever [shape] will benefit [all beings] whomsoever: I will serve all sentient 
beings, infinite in number as are the limits of the sky.' 

Keeping thyself unseparated from this resolution, thou shouldst try to remember whatever devotional 
practices thou went accustomed to perform during thy lifetime. 

In saying this, the reader shall put his lips close to the ear, and shall repeat it distinctly, clearly 
impressing it upon the dying person so as to prevent his mind from wandering even for a moment. 

After the expiration hath completely ceased, press the nerve of sleep firmly; and, a lama, or a person 
higher or more learned than thyself, impress in these words, thus: 

Reverend Sir, now that thou art experiencing the Fundamental Clear Light, try to abide in that state 
which now thou art experiencing. 

And also in the case of any other person the reader shall set him face-to-face thus: 

O nobly-born (so-and-so), listen. Now thou art experiencing the Radiance of the Clear Light of Pure 
Reality. Recognize it. O nobly-born, thy present intellect, in real nature void, not formed into anything 
as regards characteristics or colour, naturally void, is the very Reality, the All-Good. 

Thine own intellect, which is now voidness, yet not to be regarded as of the voidness of nothingness, 
but as being the intellect itself, unobstructed, shining, thrilling, and blissful, is the very consciousness, 
the All-good Buddha. 

Thine own consciousness, not formed into anything, in reality void, and the intellect, shining and 
blissful, — these two, — are inseparable. The union of them is the Dharma-Kaya state of Perfect 
Enlightenment. 



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Thine own consciousness, shining, void, and inseparable from the Great Body of Radiance, hath no 
birth, nor death, and is the Immutable Light — Buddha Amitabha. 

Knowing this is sufficient. Recognizing the voidness of thine own intellect to be Buddhahood, and 
looking upon it as being thine own consciousness, is to keep thyself in the [state of the] divine mind of 
the Buddha. 

Repeat this distinctly and clearly three or [even] seven times. That will recall to the mind [of the dying 
one] the former [i.e. when living] setting-face-to-face by the guru. Secondly, it will cause the naked 
consciousness to be recognized as the Clear Light; and, thirdly, recognizing one's own self [thus], one 
becometh permanently united with the Dharma-Kaya and Liberation will be certain. 

[Instructions Concerning the Second Stage of the Chikhai Bardo: The Secondary Clear Light 

Seen Immediately After Death] 

Thus the primary Clear Light is recognized and Liberation attained. But if it be feared that the primary 
Clear Light hath not been recognized, then [it can certainly be assumed] there is dawning [upon the 
deceased] that called the secondary Clear Light, which dawneth in somewhat more than a meal-time 
period after that the expiration hath ceased. 

According to one's good or bad karma, the vital-force floweth down into either the right or left nerve 
and goeth out through any of the apertures [of the body]. Then cometh a lucid condition of the mind. 

To say that the state [of the primary Clear Light] endureth for a meal-time period [would depend upon] 
the good or bad condition of the nerves and also whether there hath been previous practice or not [in 
the setting-face-to-face]. 

When the consciousness-principle getteth outside [the body, it sayeth to itself], Am I dead, or am I not 
dead ?' It cannot determine. It seeth its relatives and connexions as it had been used to seeing them 
before. It even heareth the wailings. The terrifying karmic illusions have not yet dawned. Nor have the 
frightful apparitions or experiences caused by the Lords of Death yet come. 

During this interval, the directions are to be applied [by the lama or reader]: 

There are those [devotees] of the perfected stage and of the visualizing stage. If it be one who was in 
the perfected stage, then call him thrice by name and repeat over and over again the above instructions 
of setting-face-to-face with the Clear Light. If it be one who was in the visualizing stage, then read out 
to him the introductory descriptions and the text of the Meditation on his tutelary deity, and then say, 

O thou of noble-birth, meditate upon thine own tutelary deity. — [Here the deity's name is to be 
mentioned by the reader.] Do not be distracted. Earnestly concentrate thy mind upon thy tutelary deity. 
Meditate upon him as if he were the reflection of the moon in water, apparent yet in-existent [in itself]. 
Meditate upon him as if he were a being with a physical body. 

So saying, [the reader will] impress it. 

If [the deceased be] of the common folk, say, 



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Meditate upon the Great Compassionate Lord. 

By thus being set-face-to-face even those who would not be expected to recognize the Bardo [unaided] 
are undoubtedly certain to recognize it. 

Persons who while living had been set face to face [with the Reality] by a guru, yet who have not made 
themselves familiar with it, will not be able to recognize the Bardo clearly by themselves. Either a 
guru or a brother in the Faith will have to impress vividly such persons. 

There may be even those who have made themselves familiar with the teachings, yet who, because of 
the violence of the disease causing death, may be mentally unable to withstand illusions. For such, 
also, this instruction is absolutely necessary. 

Again [there are those] who, although previously familiar with the teachings, have become liable to 
pass into the miserable states of existence, owing to breach of vows or failure to perform essential 
obligations honestly. To them, this [instruction] is indispensable. 

If the first stage of the Bardo path been taken by the forelock, that is best. But if not, by application of 
this distinct recalling [to the deceased], while in the second stage of the Bardo, his intellect is 
awakened and attaineth liberation. 

While on the second stage of the Bardo, one's body is of the nature of that called the shining illusory- 
body. 

Not knowing whether [he be] dead or not, [a state of] lucidity cometh [to the deceased. If the 
instructions be successfully applied to the deceased while he is in that state, then, by the meeting of the 
Mother-Reality and the Offspring-Reality, karma controlleth not. Like the sun's rays, for example, 
dispelling the darkness, the Clear Light on the Path dispelleth the power of karma. 

That which is called the second stage of the Bardo dawneth upon the thought-body. The Knower' 
hovereth within those places to which its activities had been limited. If at this time this special teaching 
be applied efficiently, then the purpose will be fulfilled; for the karmic illusions will not have come 
yet, and, therefore, he [the deceased] cannot be turned hither and thither [from his aim of achieving 
Enlightenment]. 



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[The Bardo of the Experiencing of Reality] 



[Introductory Instructions Concerning the Experiencing of Reality During the Third Stage of the 
Bardo, Called the Chonyid Bardo, when the Karmic Apparitions Appear] 

But even though the Primary Clear Light be not recognized, the Clear Light of the second Bardo being 
recognized, Liberation will be attained. If not liberated even by that, then that called the third Bardo or 
the Chonyid Bardo dawneth. 

In this third stage of the Bardo, the karmic illusions come to shine. It is very important that this Great 
Setting-face-to-face of the Chonyid Bardo be read: it hath much power and can do much good. 

About this time [the deceased] can see that the share of food is being set aside, that the body is being 
stripped of its garments, that the place of the sleeping-rug is being swept; can hear all the weeping and 
wailing of his friends and relatives, and, although he can see them and can hear them calling upon him, 
they cannot hear him calling upon them, so he goeth away displeased. 

At that time, sounds, lights, and rays — all three — are experienced. These awe, frighten, and terrify, 
and cause much fatigue. At this moment, this setting-face-to-face with the Bardo [during the 
experiencing] of Reality is to be applied. Call the deceased by name, and correctly and distinctly 
explain to him, as follows: 

O nobly-born, listen with full attention, without being distracted: There are six states of Bardo, 
namely: the natural state of Bardo while in the womb; the Bardo of the dream-state; the Bardo of 
ecstatic equilibrium, while in deep meditation; the Bardo of the moment of death; the Bardo [during 
the experiencing] of Reality; the Bardo of the inverse process of sangsaric existence. These are the six. 

O nobly-born, thou wilt experience three Bardos, the Bardo of the moment of death, the Bardo [during 
the experiencing] of Reality, and the Bardo while seeking rebirth. Of these three, up to yesterday, thou 
hadst experienced the Bardo of the moment of death. Although the Clear Light of Reality dawned 
upon thee, thou wert unable to hold on, and so thou hast to wander here. Now henceforth thou art 
going to experience the [other] two, the Chonyid Bardo and the Sidpa Bardo. 

Thou wilt pay undistracted attention to that with which I am about to set thee face to face, and hold on: 

O nobly-born, that which is called death hath now come. Thou art departing from this world, but thou 
art not the only one; [death] cometh to all. Do not cling, in fondness and weakness, to this life. Even 
though thou clingest out of weakness, thou hast not the power to remain here. Thou wilt gain nothing 
more than wandering in this Sangsara. Be not attached [to this world]; be not weak. Remember the 
Precious Trinity. 



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O nobly-born, whatever fear and terror may come to thee in the Chonyid Bardo, forget not these 
words; and, bearing their meaning at heart, go forwards: in them lieth the vital secret of recognition. 

'Alas! when the Uncertain Experiencing of Reality is dawning upon me here, 

With every thought of fear or terror or awe for all [apparitional appearances] set aside, 

May I recognize whatever [visions] appear, as the reflections of mine own consciousness; 

May I know them to be of the nature of apparitions in the Bardo: 

When at this all-important moment [of opportunity] of achieving a great end, 

May I not fear the bands of Peaceful and Wrathful [Deities], mine own thought-forms.' 

Repeat thou these [verses] clearly, and remembering their significance as thou repeatest them, go 
forwards, [O nobly-born]. Thereby, whatever visions of awe or terror appear, recognition is certain; 
and forget not this vital secret art lying therein. 

O nobly-born, when thy body and mind were separating, thou must have experienced a glimpse of the 
Pure Truth, subtle, sparkling, bright, dazzling, glorious, and radiantly awesome, in appearance like a 
mirage moving across a landscape in spring-time in one continuous stream of vibrations. Be not 
daunted thereby, nor terrified, nor awed. That is the radiance of thine own true nature. 
Recognize it. 

From the midst of that radiance, the natural sound of Reality, reverberating like a thousand thunders 
simultaneously sounding, will come. That is the natural sound of thine own real self. Be not daunted 
thereby, nor terrified, nor awed. 

The body which thou hast now is called the thought-body of propensities. Since thou hast not a 
material body of flesh and blood, whatever may come — sounds, lights, or rays — are, all three, unable 
to harm thee: thou art incapable of dying. It is quite sufficient for thee to know that these apparitions 
are thine own thought-forms. Recognize this to be the Bardo. 

O nobly-born, if thou dost not now recognize thine own thought-forms, whatever of meditation or of 
devotions thou mayst have performed while in the human world — if thou hast not met with this 
present teaching — the lights will daunt thee, the sounds will awe thee, and the rays will terrify thee. 
Shouldst thou not know this all-important key to the teachings — not being able to recognize the 
sounds, lights, and rays — thou wilt have to wander in the Sangsara. 



[The Dawning of the Peaceful Deities, from the First to the Seventh Day] 

[Assuming that the deceased is karmically bound — as the average departed one is — to pass through 
the forty-nine days of the Bardo existence, despite the very frequent settings-face-to-face, the daily 
trials and dangers which he must meet and attempt to triumph over, during the first seven days, 
wherein dawn the Peaceful Deities, are next explained to him in detail; the first day, judging from the 
text, being reckoned from the time in which normally he would be expected to wake up to the fact that 
he is dead and on the way back to rebirth, or about three and one-half to four days after death.] 

[The First Day] 



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O nobly-born, thou hast been in a swoon during the last three and one-half days. As soon as thou art 
recovered from this swoon, thou wilt have the thought, 'what hath happened!' 

Act so that thou wilt recognize the Bar do. At that time, all the Sangsdra will be in revolution; and the 
phenomenal appearances that thou wilt see then will be the radiances and deities. The whole heaves 
will appear deep blue. 

Then, from the Central Realm, called the Spreading Forth of the Seed, the Bhagavan Vairochana, 
white in colour, and seated upon a lion-throne, bearing an eight-spoked wheel in his hand, and 
embraced by the Mother of the Space of Heaven, will manifest himself to thee. 

It is the aggregate of matter resolved into its primordial state which is the blue light. 

The Wisdom of the Dharma-Dhdtu, blue in colour, shining, transparent, glorious, dazzling, from the 
heart of Vairochana as the Father-Mother, will shoot forth and strike against thee with a light so radiant 
that thou wilt scarcely be able to look at it. 

Along with it, there will also shine a dull white light from the devas, which will strike against thee in 
thy front. 

Thereupon, because of the power of bad karma, the glorious blue light of the Wisdom of the Dharma- 
Dhdtu will produce in thee fear and terror, and thou wilt [with to] flee from it. Thou wilt beget a 
fondness for the dull white light of the devas. 

At this stage, thou must not be awed by the divine blue light which will appear shining, dazzling, and 
glorious; and be not startled by it. That is the light of the Tathagata called the Light of the Wisdom of 
the Dharma-Dhdtu. Put thy faith in it, believe in it firmly, and pray unto it, thinking in thy mind that it 
is the light proceeding from the heart of the Bhagavan Vairochana coming to receive thee while in the 
dangerous ambuscade of the Bardo. That light is the light of the grace of Vairochana. 

Be not fond of the dull white light of the devas. Be not attached [to it]; be not weak. If thou be attached 
to it, thou wilt wander into the abodes of the devas and be drawn into the whirl of the Six Lokas. That 
is an interruption to obstruct thee on the Path of Liberation. Look not at it. Look at the bright blue light 
in deep faith. Put thy whole thought earnestly upon Vairochana and repeat after me this prayer: 

Alas! when wandering in the Sangsdra, because of intense stupidity, 
On the radiant light-path of the Dharma-Dhdtu Wisdom 

May [I] be led by the Bhagavan Vairochana, 
May the Divine Mother of Infinite Space by [my] rearguard; 
May [I] be led safely across the fearful ambush of the Bardo; 
May [I] be placed in the state of the All-Perfect Buddhahood.' 

Praying thus, in intense humble faith, [thou] wilt merge, in halo of rainbow light, into the heart of 
Vairochana, and obtain Buddhahood in the Sambhoga-Kdya, in the Central Realm of the Densely- 
Packed. 

[The Second Day] 



13 



But if, notwithstanding this setting-face-to-face, through power of anger or obscuring karma one 
should be startled at the glorious light and flee, or be overcome by illusions, despite the prayer, on the 
Second Day, Vajra-Sattva and his attendant deities, as well as one's evil deeds [meriting] Hell, will 
come to receive one. 

Thereupon the setting-face-to-face is, calling the deceased by name, thus: 

O nobly-born, listen undistractedly. On the Second Day the pure form of water will shine as a white 
light. At that time, from the deep blue Eastern Realm of Pre-eminent Happiness, the Bhagavan 
Akshobhya [as] Vajra-Sattva, blue in colour, holding in his hand a five-pronged dorje, seated upon an 
elephant-throne, and embraced by the Mother MamakI, will appear to thee, attended by the 
Bodhisattvas Kshitigarbha and Maitreya, with the female Bodhisattvas, Lasema and Pushpema. These 
six Bodhic deities will appear to thee. 

The aggregate of thy principle of consciousness, being in it's pure form — which is the Mirror-like 
Wisdom — will shine as a bright, radiant white light, from the heart of Vajra-Sattva, the Father-Mother, 
with such dazzling brilliancy and transparency that thou wilt scarcely be able to look at it, [and] will 
strike against thee. And a dull, smoke-coloured light from Hell will shine alongside the light of the 
Mirror-like Wisdom and will [also] strike against thee. 

Thereupon, through the power of anger, thou wilt beget fear and be startled at the dazzling white light 
and wilt [wish to] flee from it; thou wilt beget a feeling of fondness for the dull smoke-coloured light 
from Hell. Act then so that thou wilt not fear that bright, dazzling, transparent white light. Know it to 
be Wisdom. Put thy humble and earnest faith in it. That is the light of the grace of the Bhagavan Vajra- 
Sattva. Think, with faith, 'I will take refuge in it'; and pray. 

That is the Bhagavan Vajra-Sattva coming to receive thee and to save thee from the fear and terror of 
the Bardo. Believe in it; for it is the hook of the rays of grace of Vajra-Sattva. 

Be not fond of the dull, smoke-coloured light from Hell. That is the path which openeth out to receive 
thee because of the power of accumulated evil karma from violent anger. If thou be attracted by it, 
thou wilt fall into the Hell-Worlds; and, falling therein, thou wilt have to endure unbearable misery, 
whence there is not certain time of getting out. That being an interruption to obstruct thee on the Path 
of Liberation, look not at it; and avoid anger. Be not attracted by it; be not weak. Believe in the 
dazzling bright white light; [and] putting thy whole heart earnestly upon the Bhagavan Vajra-Sattva, 
pray thus: 

Alas! when wandering in the Sangsara because of the power of violent anger, 

On the radiant light-path of the Mirror-like Wisdom, 

May [I] be led by the Bhagavan Vajra-Sattva, 

May the Divine Mother MamakI be [my] rear-guard; 

May [I] be led safely across the fearful ambush of the Bardo; 

And may [I] be placed in the state of the All-perfect Buddhahood.' 

Praying thus, in intense humble faith, thou wilt merge, in rainbow light, into the heart of the Bhagavan 
Vajra-Sattva and obtain Buddhahood in the Sambhoga-Kaya, in the Eastern Realm called Pre- 
eminently Happy. 



14 



[The Third Day] 



Yet, even when set face to face in this way, some persons, because of obscurations from bad karma, 
and from pride, although the hook of the rays of grace [striketh against them], flee from it. [If one be 
one of them], then, on the Third Day, the Bhagavan Ratna-Sambhava and his accompanying deities, 
along with the light-path from the human world, will come to receive one simultaneously. 

Again, calling the deceased by name, the setting-face-to-face is thus: 

O nobly-born, listen undistractedly. On the Third Day the primal form of the element earth will shine 
forth as a yellow light. At that time, from the Southern Realm Endowed with Glory, the Bhagavan 
Ratna-Sambhava, yellow in colour bearing a jewel in his hand, seated upon a horse-throne and 
embraced by the Divine Mother Sangyay-Chanma, will shine upon thee. 

The two Bodhisattvas, Akasha-Barbha and Samanta-Bhadra, attended by the two female Bodhisattvas, 
Mahlaima and Dhupema — in all, six Bodhic forms — will come to shine from amidst a rainbow halo of 
light. The aggregate of touch in its primal form, as the yellow light of the Wisdom of Equality, 
dazzlingly yellow, glorified with orbs having satellite orbs of radiance, so clear and bright that the eye 
can scarcely look upon it, will strike against thee. Side by side with it, the dull bluish-yellow light from 
the human [world] will also strike against thy heart, along with the Wisdom light. 

Thereupon, through the power of egotism, thou wilt beget a fear for the dazzling yellow light and wilt 
[with to] flee from it. Thou wilt be fondly attracted towards the dull bluish-yellow light from the 
human [world]. 

At that time do not fear that bright, dazzling-yellow, transparent light, but know it to be Wisdom; in 
that state, keeping thy mind resigned, trust in it earnestly and humbly. If thou knowest it to be the 
radiance of thine own intellect — although thou exertest not thy humility and faith and prayer to it — 
the Divine Body and Light will merge into thee inseparably, and thou wilt obtain Buddhahood. 

If thou dost not recognize the radiance of thine own intellect, think, with faith, 'It is the radiance of the 
grace of the Bhagavan Ratna-Sambhava; I will take refuge in it'; and pray. It is the hook of the grace- 
rays of the Bhagavan Ratna-Sambhava; believe in it. 

Be not fond of that dull bluish-yellow light from the human [world]. That is the path of thine 
accumulated propensities of violent egotism come to receive thee. If thou art attracted by it, thou wilt 
be born in the human world and have to suffer birth, age, sickness, and death; and thou wilt have no 
chance of getting out of the quagmire of worldly existence. That is an interruption to obstruct thy path 
of liberation. Therefore, look not upon it, and abandon egotism, abandon propensities; be not attracted 
towards it; be not weak. Act so as to trust in that bright dazzling light. Put thine earnest thought, one- 
pointedly, upon the Bhagavan Ratna-Sambhava; and pray thus: 

Alas! when wandering in the Sangsara because of the power of violent egotism, 

on the radiant light-path of the Wisdom of Equality, 

May [I] be led by the Bhagavan Ratna-Sambhava; 

May the Divine Mother, She-of-the-Buddha-Eye, be [my] rear-guard; 

May [I] be led safely across the fearful ambush of the Bardo; 

And may [I] be placed in the state of the All-Perfect Buddhahood.' 



15 



By praying thus, with deep humility and faith, thou wilt merge into the heart of the Bhagavan Ratna- 
Sambhava, the Divine Father-Mother, in halo of rainbow light, and attain Buddhahood in the 
Sambhoga-Kaya, in the Southern Realm Endowed with Glory. 

[The Fourth Day] 

By thus being set face to face, however weak the mental faculties may be, there is no doubt of one's 
gaining Liberation. Yet, though so often set face to face, there are classes of men who, having created 
much bad karma, or having failed in observance of vows, or, their lot [for higher development] being 
altogether lacking, prove unable to recognize: their obscurations and evil karma from covetousness and 
miserliness produce awe of the sounds and radiances, and they flee. [If one be of these classes], then, 
on the Fourth Day, the Bhagavan Amitabha and his attendant deities, together with the light-path from 
the Preta-loka, proceeding from miserliness and attachment, will come to receive one simultaneously. 

Again, the setting-face-to-face is, calling the deceased by name, thus: 

O nobly-born, listen undistractedly. On the Fourth Day the red light, which is the primal form of the 
element fire, will shine. At that time, from the Red Western Realm of Happiness, the Bhagavan 
Buddha Amitabha, red in colour, bearing a lotus in his hand, seated upon a peacock-throne and 
embraced by the Divine Mother Gokarmo, will shine upon thee, [together with] the Bodhisattvas 
Chenrazee and Jampal, attended by the female Bodhisattvas Ghirdhima and Aloke. The six bodies of 
Enlightenment will shine upon thee from amidst a halo of rainbow light. 

The primal form of the aggregate of feelings as the red light of the All-Discriminating Wisdom, 
glitteringly red, glorified with orbs and satellite orbs, bright, transparent, glorious and dazzling, 
proceeding from the heart of the Divine Father-Mother Amitabha, will strike against thy heart [so 
radiantly] that thou wilt scarcely be able to look upon it. Fear it not. 

Along with it, a dull red light from the Preta-loka, coming side by side with the Light of Wisdom, will 
also shine upon thee. Act so that thou shalt not be fond of it. Abandon attachment [and] weakness [for 
it]. 

At that time, through the influence of intense attachment, thou wilt become terrified by the dazzling 
red light, and wilt [wish to] flee from it. And thou wilt beget a fondness for that dull red light of the 
Preta-loka. 

At that time, be not afraid of the glorious, dazzling, transparent, radiant red light. Recognizing it as 
Wisdom, keeping thine intellect in a state of resignation, thou wilt merge [into it] inseparably and 
attain Buddhahood. 

If thou dost not recognize it, think, 'It is the rays of the grace of the Bhagavan Amitabha, and I will 
take refuge in it'; and, trusting humbly in it, pray unto it. That is the hook-rays of the grace of the 
Bhagavan Amitabha. Trust in it humbly; flee not. Even if thou fleest, it will follow thee inseparably 
[from thyself]. Fear it not. Be not attracted towards the dull red light of the Preta-loka. That is the 
light-path proceeding from the accumulations of thine intense attachment [to sangsaric existence] 
which hath come to receive thee. If thou be attached thereto, thou wilt fall into the World of Unhappy 
Spirits and suffer unbearable misery from hunger and thirst. Thou wilt have no chance of gaining 
Liberation [therein]. That dull red light is an interruption to obstruct thee on the Path of Liberation. Be 



16 



not attached to it, and abandon habitual propensities. Be not weak. Trust in the bright dazzling red 
light. In the Bhagavan Amitabha, the Father-Mother, put thy trust one-pointedly and pray thus: 

'Alas! when wandering in the Sangsdra because of the power of intense attachment, 
On the radiant light-path of the Discriminating Wisdom 

May [I] be led by the Bhagavan Amitabha, May the Divine Mother, She-of- White-Raiment, be [my] 
rear-guard; 

May [I] be safely led across the dangerous ambush of the Bardo; 
And may [I] be placed in the state of the All-Perfect Buddhahood.' 

By praying thus, humbly and earnestly, thou wilt merge into the heart of the Divine Father-Mother, the 
Bhagavan Amitabha, in halo of rainbow-light, and attain Buddhahood in the Sambhoga-Kdya, in the 
Western Realm named Happy. 

[The Fifth Day] 

It is impossible that one should not be liberated thereby. Yet, though thus set face to face, sentient 
beings, unable through long association with propensities to abandon propensities, and, through bad 
karma and jealousy, awe and terror being produced by the sounds and radiances — the hook-rays of 
grace failing to catch hold of them — wander down also to the Fifth Day. [If one be such a sentient 
being], thereupon the Bhagavan Amogha-Siddhi, with his attendant deities and the light and rays of his 
grace, will come to receive one. A light proceeding from the Asura-loka, produced by the evil passion 
of jealousy, will also come to receive one. 

The setting-face-to-face at that time is, calling the deceased by name, thus: 

O nobly-born, listen undistractedly. On the Fifth Day, the green light of the primal form of the element 
air will shine upon thee. At that time, from the Green Northern Realm of Successful Performance of 
Best Actions, the Bhagavan Buddha Amogha-Siddhi, green in colour, bearing a crossed-Jor/e in hand, 
seated upon a sky-traversing Harpy-throne, embraced by the Divine Mother, the Faithful Dolma, will 
shine upon thee, with his attendants — the two Bodhisattvas Chag-na-Dorje and Dibpanamsel, attended 
by two female Bodhisattvas, Gandhema and Nidhema. These six Bodhic forms, from amidst a halo of 
rainbow light, will come to shine. 

The primal form of the aggregate of volition, shining as the green light of the All-Performing Wisdom, 
dazzlingly green, transparent and radiant, glorious and terrifying, beautified with orbs surrounded by 
satellite orbs of radiance, issuing from the heart of the Divine Father-Mother Amogha-Siddhi, green in 
colour, will strike against thy heart [so wondrously bright] that thou wilt scarcely be able to look at it. 
Fear it not. That is the natural power of the wisdom of thine own intellect. Abide in the state f great 
resignation of impartiality. 

Along with it [i.e. the green light of the All-Performing Wisdom], a light of dull green colour from the 
Asura-loka, produced from the cause of the feeling of jealousy, coming side by side with the Wisdom 
Rays, will shine upon thee. Meditate upon it with impartiality, — with neither repulsion nor attraction. 
Be not fond of it: if thou art of low mental capacity, be not fond of it. 

Thereupon, through the influence of intense jealousy, thou wilt be terrified at the dazzling radiance of 
the green light and wilt [with to] flee from it; and thou wilt beget a fondness for that dull green light of 



17 



the Asura-loka. At that time fear not the glorious and transparent, radiant and dazzling green light, but 
know it to be Wisdom; and in that state allow thine intellect to rest in resignation. Or else [think], 'It is 
the hook-rays of the light of grace of the Bhagavan Amogha-Siddhi, which is the All-Performing 
Wisdom.' Believe [thus] on it. Flee not from it. 

Even though thou shouldst flee from it, it will follow thee inseparably [from thyself]. Fear it not. Be 
not fond of that dull green light of the Asura-loka. That is the karmic path of acquired intense jealousy, 
which hath come to receive thee. If thou art attracted by it, thou wilt fall into the Asura-loka and have 
to engage in unbearable miseries of quarrelling and warfare. [That is an] interruption to obstruct thy 
path of liberation. Be not attracted by it. Abandon thy propensities. Be not weak. Trust in the dazzling 
green radiance, and putting thy whole thought one-pointedly upon the Divine Father-Mother, the 
Bhagavan Amogha-Siddhi, pray thus: 

Alas! when wandering in the Sangsara because of the power of intense jealousy, 

On the radiant light-path of the All-Performing Wisdom 

May[I] be led by the Bhagavan Amogha-Siddhi; 

May the Divine Mother, the Faithful Tara, be [my] rear-guard; 

May [I] be led safely across the dangerous ambush of the Bardo; 

And may [I] be placed in the state of the All-Perfect Buddhahood.' 

By prayer thus with intense faith and humility, thou wilt merge into the heart of the Divine Father- 
Mother, the Bhagavan Amogha-Siddhi, in halo of rainbow light, and attain Buddhahood in the 
Sambhoga-Kaya, in the Northern Realm of Heaped-up Good Deeds. 

[The Sixth Day] 

Being thus set face to face at various stages, however weak one's karmic connexions may be, one 
should have recognized in one or the other of them; and where one has recognized in any of them it is 
impossible not to be liberated. Yet, although set face to face so very often in that manner, one long 
habituated to strong propensities and lacking in familiarity with, and pure affection for, Wisdom, may 
be led backwards by the power of one's own evil inclinations despite these many introductions. The 
hook-rays of the light of grace may not be able to catch hold of one: one may still wander downwards 
because of one's begetting the feeling of awe and terror of the lights and rays. 

Thereupon all the Divine Fathers-Mothers of the Five Orders [of Dhyani Buddhas] with their 
attendants will come to shine upon one simultaneously. At the same time, the lights proceeding from 
the Six Lokas will likewise come to shine upon one simultaneously. 

The setting-face-to-face for that is, calling the deceased by name, thus: 

O nobly-born, until yesterday each of the Five Orders of Deities had shone upon thee, one by one; and 
thou hadst been set face to face, but, owing to the influence of thine evil propensities, thou wert awed 
and terrified by them and hast remained here till now. 

If thou hadst recognized the radiances of the Five Orders of Wisdom to be the emanations from thine 
own thought-forms, ere this thou wouldst have obtained Buddhahood in the Sambhoga-Kaya, through 
having been absorbed into the halo of rainbow light in one or another of the Five Orders of Buddhas. 



18 



But now look on undistractedly. Now the lights of all Five Orders, called the Lights of the Union of 
Four Wisdoms, will come to receive thee. Act so as to know them. 

O nobly-born, on this the Sixth Day, the four colours of the primal states of the four elements [water, 
earth, fire, air] will shine upon thee simultaneously. At that time, from the Central Realm of the 
Spreading Forth of See, the Buddha Vairochana, the Divine Father-Mother, with the attendant 
[deities], will come to shine upon thee. From the Eastern Realm of Pre-eminent Happiness, the Buddha 
Vajra-Sattva, the Divine Father-Mother, with the attendant [deities] will come to shine upon thee. 
From the Southern Realm endowed with Glory, the Buddha Ratna-Sambhava, the Divine Father- 
Mother, with the attendant [deities] will come to shine upon thee. From the Happy Western Realm of 
Heaped-up Lotuses, the Buddha Amitabha, the Divine Father-Mother, along with the attendant 
[deities] will come to shine upon thee. From the Northern Realm of Perfected Good Deeds, the Buddha 
Amogha-Siddhi, the Divine Father-Mother, along with the attendants will come, amidst a halo of 
rainbow light, to shine upon thee at this very moment. 

'O nobly-born, on the outer circle of these five pair of Dhyani Buddhas, the [four] Door-Keepers, the 
Wrathful [Ones]: the Victorious One, the Destroyer of the Lord of Death, the Horse-necked King, the 
Urn of Nectar, with the four female Door-keepers: the Goad-Bearer, the Noose-Bearer, the Chain- 
Bearer, and the Bell-Bearer; along with the Buddha of the Devas, named the One of Supreme Power, 
the Buddha of the Asuras, named [He of] Strong Texture, the Buddha of Mankind, named the Lion of 
the Shakyas, the Buddha of the brute kingdom, named the Unshakable Lion, the Buddha of the Pretas, 
named the One of Flaming Mouth, and the Buddha of the Lower World, named the King of Truth: — 
[these], the Eight Father-Mother Door-keepers and the Six Teachers, the Victorious Ones — will come 
to shine, too. 

The All-Good Father, and the All-Good Mother, the Great Ancestors of all the Buddhas: Samata- 
Bhadra [and Samanta-Bhadra], the Divine Father and the Divine Mother — these two, also will come to 
shine. 

These forty-two perfectly endowed deities, issuing from within thy heart, being the product of thine 
own pure love, will come to shine. Know them. 

O nobly-born, these realms are not come from somewhere outside [thyself]. They come from within 
the four divisions of thy heart, which, including its centre, make the five directions. They issue from 
within there, and whine upon thee. The deities, too, are not come from somewhere else: they exist from 
eternity within the faculties of thine own intellect. Know them to be of that nature. 

O nobly-born, the size of all these deities is not large, not small, [but] proportionate. [They have] their 
ornaments, their colours, their sitting postures, their thrones, and the emblems that each holds. 

These deities are formed into groups of five pairs, each group of five being surrounded by a fivefold 
circle of radiances, the male Bodhisattvas partaking of the nature of the Divine Fathers, and the female 
Bodhisattvas partaking of the nature of the Divine Mothers. All these divine conclaves will come to 
shine upon thee in one complete conclave. They are thine own tutelary deities. Know them to be such. 

O nobly-born, from the hearts of the Divine Fathers and Mothers of the Five Orders, the rays of light 
of the Four Wisdoms united, extremely clear and fine, like the rays of the sun spun into threads, will 
come and shine upon thee and strike against thy heart. 



19 



On that path of radiance there will come to shine glorious orbs of lights, blue in colour, emitting rays, 
the Dharma-Dhatu Wisdom [itself], each appearing like an inverted turquoise cup, surrounded by 
similar orbs, smaller in size, more glorious with five yet smaller [satellite] orbs dotted round about 
with five starry spots of light of the same nature, leaving neither the centre nor the borders [of the blue 
light-path] unglorified by the orbs and the smaller [satellite] orbs. 

From the heart of Vajra-Sattva, the white light-path of the Mirror-like Wisdom, white and transparent, 
glorious and dazzling, glorious and terrifying, made more glorious with orbs surrounded by smaller 
orbs of transparent and radiant light upon it, each like an inverted mirror, will come to shine. 

From the heart of Ratna-Sambhava, the yellow light-path of the Wisdom of Equality, [glorified] with 
yellow orbs [of radiance], each like an inverted gold cup, surrounded by smaller orbs, and these with 
yet smaller orbs, will come to shine. 

From the heart of Amitabha, the transparent, bright red light-path of the Discriminating Wisdom, upon 
which are ors, like inverted coral cups, emitting rays of Wisdom, extremely bright and dazzling, each 
glorified with five [satellite] orbs of the same nature — leaving neither the centre nor the borders [of the 
red light-path] unglorified with orbs and smaller satellite orbs — will come to shine. 

These will come to shine against thy heart simultaneously. 

O nobly-born, all those are the radiances of thine own intellectual faculties come to shine. They have 
not come from any other place. Be not attracted towards them; be not weak; be not terrified; but abide 
in the mood of non-thought-formation. In that state all the forms and radiances will merge into thyself, 
and Buddhahood will be obtained. 

The green light-path of the Wisdom of Perfected Actions will not shine upon thee, because the 
Wisdom-faculty of thine intellect hath not been perfectly developed. 

O nobly-born, those are called the Lights of the Four Wisdoms United, [whence proceeds that] which 
is called the Inner Path through Vajra-Sattva. 

At that time, thou must remember the teachings of the setting-face-to-face which thou hast had from 
thy guru. If thou hast remembered the purport of the settings-face-to-face, thou wilt have recognized 
all these lights which have shone upon thee, as being the reflection of thine own inner light, and, 
having recognized them as intimate friends, thou wilt have believed in them and have understood 
[them at] the meeting, as a son understandeth his mother. 

And believing in the unchanging nature of the pure and holy Truth, thou wilt have had produced in 
thee the tranquil-flowing Samddhi; and, having merged into the body of the perfectly evolved intellect, 
thou wilt have obtained Buddhahood in the Sambhoga-Kdya, whence there is no return. 

O nobly-born, along with the radiances of Wisdom, the impure illusory lights of the Six Lokas will 
also come to shine. If it be asked, 'What are they?' [they are] a dull white light from the devas, a dull 
green light from the asuras, a dull yellow light from human beings, a dull blue light from the brutes, a 
dull reddish light from the pretas, and a dull smoke-coloured light from Hell. These six thus will come 
to shine, along with the six radiances of Wisdom; whereupon, be not afraid of nor be attracted towards 
any, but allow thyself to rest in the non-thought condition. 



20 



If thou art frightened by the pure radiances of Wisdom and attracted by the impure lights of the Six 
Lokas, then thou wilt assume a body in any of the Six Lokas and suffer sangsaric miseries; and thou 
wilt never be emancipated from the Ocean of Sangsdra , wherein thou wilt be whirled round and round 
and made to taste of the sufferings thereof. 

O nobly-born, if thou art one who hath not obtained the select words of the guru, thou wilt have fear of 
the pure radiances of Wisdom and of the deities thereof. Being thus frightened, thou wilt be attracted 
towards the impure sangsaric objects. Act not so. Humbly trust in the dazzling pu7re radiances of 
Wisdom. Frame thy mind to faith, and think, 'The compassionate radiances of Wisdom of the Five 
Orders of Buddhas have come to take hold of me out of compassion; I take refuge in them.' 

Not yielding to attraction towards the illusory lights of the Six Lokas, but devoting thy whole mind 
one-pointedly towards the Divine Fathers and Mothers, the Buddhas of the Five Orders, pray thus: 

'Alas! when wandering in the Sangsdra through the power of the five virulent poisons, 

On the bright radiance-path of the Four Wisdoms united, 

May [I] be led by the Five Victorious Conquerors, 

May the Five Orders of Divine Mothers be [my] rear-guard; 

May [I] be rescued from the impure light-paths of the Six Lokas; 

And, being saved from the ambuscades of the dread Bardo, 

May [I] be placed within the five pure Divine Realms.' 

By thus praying, one recognizeth one's own inner light; and, merging one's self therein, in at-one-ment, 
Buddhahood is attained: through humble faith, the ordinary devotee cometh to know himself, and 
obtaineth Liberation; even the most lowly, by the power f the pure prayer, can close the doors of the 
Six Lokas, and, in understanding the real meaning of the Four Wisdoms united, obtain Buddhahood by 
the hollow pathway through Vajra-Sattva. 

Thus by being set face to face in that detailed manner, those who are destined to be liberated will come 
to recognize [the Truth]; thereby many will attain Liberation. 

The worst of the worst, [those] of heavy evil karma, having not the least predilection for any religion — 
and some who have failed in their vows — through the power of karmic illusions, not recognizing, 
although set face to face [with Truth], will stray downwards. 

[The Seventh Day] 

On the Seventh Day, the Knowledge-Holding Deities, from the holy paradise realms, come to receive 
on. Simultaneously, the pathway to the brute world, produced by the obscuring passion, stupidity, also 
cometh to receive one. The setting-face-to-face at that time is, calling the deceased by name, thus: 

O nobly-born, listen undistractedly. On the Seventh Day the vari-coloured radiance of the purified 
propensities will come to shine. Simultaneously, the Knowledge-Holding Deities, from the holy 
paradise realms, will come to receive one. 

From the centre of the Circle [or Mandala], enhaloed in radiance of rainbow light, the supreme 
Knowledge-Holding [Deity], the Lotus Lord of Dance, the Supreme Knowledge-Holder Who Ripens 
Karmic Fruits, radiant with all the five colours, embraced by the [Divine] Mother, the Red DdkinT, [he] 



21 



holding a crescent knife and a skull [filled] with blood, dancing and making the mudra of fascination, 
[with his right hand held] aloft, will come to shine. 

To the east of that Circle, the deity called the Earth- Abiding Knowledge-Holder, white of colour, with 
radiant smiling countenance, embraced by the White DdkinT, the [Divine] Mother, [he] holding a 
crescent knife and a skull [filled] with blood, dancing and making the mudra of fascination, [with his 
right hand held] aloft, will come to shine. 

To the south of that Circle, the Knowledge-Holding Deity called [He] Having Power Over Duration of 
Life, yellow in colour, smiling and radiant, embraced by the Yellow DdkinT, the [Divine] Mother, [he] 
holding a crescent knife and a skull [filled] with blood, dancing and making the mudra of fascination, 
[with his right hand held] aloft, will come to shine. 

To the west of that Circle, the Knowledge-Holding Deity of the Great Symbol, red of colour, smiling 
and radiant, embraced by the Red DdkinT, the [Divine] Mother, [he] holding a crescent knife and a 
skull [filled] with blood, dancing and making the mudra of fascination, [with his right hand held] aloft, 
will come to shine. 

To the north of that Circle, the deity called Self-Evolved Knowledge-Holder, green of colour, with a 
half-angry, half-smiling countenance, embraced by the Green Dakinl, the [Divine] Mother, [he] 
holding a crescent knife and a skull [filled] with blood, dancing and making the mudra of fascination, 
[with his right hand held] aloft, will come to shine. 

In the Outer Circle, round about these Knowledge-Holders, innumerable bands of ddkinTs — ddkinTs of 
the eight places of cremation, ddkinTs of the four classes, ddkinTs of the three abodes, ddkinTs of the 
thirty holy-places and of the twenty-four places of pilgrimage — heroes, heroines, celestial warriors, 
and faith-protecting deities, male and female, each bedecked with the six bone-ornaments, having 
drums and thigh-bone trumpets, skull-timbrels, banners of gigantic human[-like] hides, human-hide 
canopies, human-hide bannerettes, fumes of human-fat incense, and innumerable [other] kinds of 
musical instruments, filling [with music] the whole world-systems and causing them to vibrate, to 
quake and tremble with sounds so mighty as to daze one's brain, and dancing various measures, will 
come to receive the faithful and punish the unfaithful. 

O nobly-born, five-coloured radiances, of the Wisdom of the Simultaneously-Born, which are the 
purified propensities, vibrating and dazzling like coloured threads, flashing, radiant, and transparent, 
glorious and awe-inspiring, will issue from the hearts of the five chief Knowledge-Holding Deities and 
strike against thy heart, so bright that thy eye cannot bear to look upon them. 

At the same time, a dull blue light from the brute world will come to shine along with the Radiances of 
Wisdom. Then, through the influence of the illusions of thy propensities, thou wilt feel afraid of the 
radiance of the five colours; and [wishing to] flee from it, thou wilt feel attracted towards the dull light 
from the brute-world. Thereupon, be not afraid of that brilliant radiance of five colours, nor terrified; 
but know the Wisdom to be thine own. 

Within those radiances, the natural sound of the Truth will reverberate like a thousand thunders. The 
sound will come with a rolling reverberation, [amidst which] will be heard, 'Slay! Slay!' and awe- 
inspiring mantras. Fear not. Flee not. Be not terrified. Know them [i.e. these sounds] to be [of] the 
intellectual faculties of thine own [inner] light. 



22 



Be not attracted towards the dull blue light of the brute-world; be not weak. If thou art attracted, thou 
wilt fall into the brute -world, wherein stupidity predominates, and suffer the illimitable miseries of 
slavery and dumbness and stupidness; and it will be a very long time ere thou canst get out. Be not 
attracted towards it. Put thy faith in the bright, dazzling, five-coloured radiance. Direct thy mind one- 
pointedly towards the deities, the Knowledge-Holding Conquerors. Think, one-pointedly, thus: 'These 
Knowledge-Holding Deities, the Heroes, and the DdkinTs have come from the holy paradise realms to 
receive me; I supplicate them all: up to this day, although the Five Orders of the Buddhas of the Three 
Times have all exerted the rays of their grace and compassion, yet have I not been rescued by them. 
Alas, for a being like me! May the Knowledge-Holding Deities not let me go downwards further than 
this, but hold me with the hook of their compassion, and lead me to the holy paradises.' 

Thinking in that manner, one-pointedly, pray thus: 

'O ye Knowledge-Holding Deities, pray hearken unto me; 
Lead me on the Path, out of your great love 

When {I am] wandering in the Sangsdra, because of intensified propensities, 

On the bright light-path of the Simultaneously-born Wisdom 

May the bands of Heroes, the Knowledge-Holders, lead me; 

May the bands of the Mothers, the ddkinTs, be [my] rear-guard; 

May they save me from the fearful ambuscades of the Bardo, 

And place me in the pure Paradise Realms.' 

Praying thus, in deep faith and humility, there is no doubt that one will be born within the pure 
Paradise Realms, after being merged, in rainbow-light, into the heart of the Knowledge-Holding 
Deities. 

All the pandit classes, too, coming to recognize at this stage, obtain liberation; even those of evil 
propensities being sure to be liberated here. 

Here endeth the part of the Great Thodol concerned with the setting-face-to-face of the Peaceful 
[Deities] of the Chonyid Bardo and the setting-face-to-face of the Clear Light of the Chikhai Bardo. 

[The Dawning of the Wrathful Deities, from the Eight to the Fourteenth Day] 

[Introduction] 

Now the manner of the dawning of the Wrathful Deities is to be shown. 

In the above Bardo of the Peaceful [Deities} there were seven stages of ambuscade. The setting-face- 
to-face at each stage should have [caused the deceased] to recognize either at one or another [stage] 
and to have been liberated. 

Multitudes will be liberated by that recognition; [and] although multitudes obtain liberation in that 
manner, the number of sentient beings being great, evil karma powerful, obscurations dense, 
propensities o too long standing, the Wheel of Ignorance and Illusion becometh neither exhausted nor 
accelerated. Although [all be] set face-to-face in such detail, there is a vast preponderance of those who 
wander downwards unliberated. 



23 



Therefore, after the cessation [of the dawning] of the Peaceful and the Knowledge-Holding Deities, 
who come to welcome one, the fifty-eight flame-enhaloed, wrathful, blood-drinking deities come to 
dawn, who are only the former Peaceful Deities in changed aspect-according to the place [or psychic- 
centre of the Bardo-body of the deceased whence they proceed]; nevertheless, they will not resemble 
them. 

This is the Bardo of the Wrathful Deities; and, they being influenced by fear, terror, and awe, 
recognition becometh more difficult. The intellect, gaining not in independence, passeth from one 
fainting state to a round of fainting states. [Yet], if one but recognize a little, it is easier to be liberated 
[at this stage]. If it be asked why? [the answer is]: Because of the dawning of the radiances — [which 
produce] fear, terror, and awe — the intellect is undistractedly alert in one-pointedness; that is why. 

If at this stage one do not meet with this kind of teaching, one's hearing [of religious lore] — although it 
be like an ocean [in its vastness] — is of no avail. There are even disciplines-holding abbots [or 
bhikkhus] and doctors in metaphysical discourses who err at this stage, and, not recognizing, wander 
into the Sangsdra. 

As for the common worldly folk, what need is there to mention them! By fleeing, through fear, terror, 
and awe, they fall over the precipices into the unhappy worlds and suffer. But the least of the least of 
the devotees of the mystic mantrayand doctrines, as soon as he sees these blood-drinking deities, will 
recognize them to be his tutelary deities, and the meeting will be like that of human acquaintances. He 
will trust them; and becoming merged into them, in at-one-ment, will obtain Buddhahood. 

By having meditated on the description of these blood-drinking deities, while in the human world, and 
by having performed some worship or praise of them; or, at least, by having seen their painted 
likenesses and their images, upon witnessing the dawning of the deities at this stage, recognition of 
them will result, and liberation. In this lieth the art. 

Again, at the death of those discipline -holding abbots and doctors in metaphysical discourses [who 
remain uninstructed in these Bardo teachings], however assiduously they may have devoted 
themselves to religious practices, and however in the human world, there will not come any 
phenomenal signs such as rainbow-halo [at the funeral-pyre] nor bone-reliques [from the ashes]. This 
is because when they lived the mystic [or esoteric] doctrines were never held within their heart, and 
because they had spoken contemptuously of them, and because they were never acquainted [through 
initiation] with the deities of the mystic [or esoteric] doctrines; thus, when these dawn on the Bardo, 
they do not recognize them. Suddenly [seeing] what they had never seen before, engendered, they pass 
into the miserable states because of that. Therefore, if the observers of the disciplines, and the [or 
esoteric] doctrines, such signs as the rainbow-halo come not, nor are bone-reliques and seed-like bones 
ever produced [from the bones of their funeral-pyre]: these are the reasons for it. 

The least of the least of mantraydnic [devotees] — who may seem to be of very unrefined manners, 
unindustrious, untactful, and who may not live in accordance with his vows, and who in every way 
may be inelegant in his habits, and even unable, perhaps, to carry the practices of his teachings to a 
successful issue — let no one feel disrespect for nor doubt him, but pay reverence to the esoteric [or 
mystic] doctrines [which he holdeth]. By that, alone, one obtaineth liberation at this stage. 



24 



Even though the deeds [of one paying such reverence] may not have been very elegant while in the 
human world, at his death there will come at least one kind of sign, such a rainbow-radiance, bone- 
images, and bone-reliques. This is because the esoteric [or mystic] doctrines possess great gift-waves. 

[Those of, and] above, the mystic mantraydnic devotees of ordinary [psychic development], who have 
meditated upon the visualization and perfection processes and practiced the essences [or essence 
mantras], need not wander down this far on the Chonyid Bardo. As soon as they cease to breathe, they 
will be led into the pure paradise realms by the Heroes and Heroines and the Knowledge-Holders. As a 
sign of this, the sky will be cloudless; they will merge into rainbow radiance; there will be sun- 
showers, sweet scent of incense [in the air], music in the skies, radiances; bone-reliques and images 
[from their funeral-pyre]. 

Therefore, to the abbots [or discipline -holders], to the doctors, and to those mystics who have failed in 
their vows, and to all the common people, this Thodol is indispensable. But those who have meditated 
upon the Great Perfection and the Great Symbol will recognize the Clear Light at the moment of death; 
and, obtaining the Dharma-Kdya, all of them will be such as not to need the reading of this Thodol. By 
recognizing the Clear Light at the moment of death, they also will recognize the visions of the Peaceful 
and the Wrathful during the Chonyid Bardo, and obtain the Sambhoga-Kaya; or, recognizing during 
the Sidpa Bardo, obtain the Nirmana-Kaya; and, taking birth on the higher planes, will, in the next 
rebirth, meet with this Doctrine, and then enjoy the continuity of karma. 

Therefore, this Thodol is the doctrine by which Buddhahood may be attained without meditation; the 
doctrine liberating by the hearing [of it] alone; the doctrine which leadeth brings of great evil karma on 
the Secret Path; the doctrine which produceth differentiation instantaneously [between those who are 
initiated into it and those who are not]: being the profound doctrine which Conferreth Perfect 
Enlightenment instantaneously. Those sentient beings who have been reached by it cannot go to the 
unhappy states. 

This [doctrine] and the Tahdol [doctrine], when joined together being like unto a mandala of gold inset 
with turquoise, combine them. 

Thus, the indispensable nature of the Thodol being shown, there now cometh the setting-face-to-face 
with the dawning of the Wrathful [Deities] in the Bardo. 

[The Eighth Day] 

Again, calling the deceased by name, [address him] thus: 

O nobly-born, listen undistractedly. Not having been able to recognize when the Peaceful [Deities] 
shone upon thee in the Bardo above, thou hast come wandering thus far. Now, on the Eighth Day, the 
blood-drinking Wrathful Deities will come to shine. Act so as to recognize them without being 
distracted. 

O nobly-born, the Great Glorious Buddha-Heruka, dark-brown of colour; with three heads, six hands, 
and four feet firmly postured; the right [face] being white, the left, red, the central, dark-brown; the 
body emitting flames of radiance; the nine eyes widely opened, in terrifying gaze; the eyebrows 
quivering like lightening; the protruding teeth glistening and set over one another; giving vent to 
sonorous utterances of 'a-la-la' and 'ha-ha', and piercing whistling sounds; the hair of a reddish-yellow 



25 



colour, standing on end, and emitting radiance; the heads adorned with dried [human] skulls, and the 
[symbols of the] sun and moon; black serpents and raw [human] heads forming a garland for the body; 
the first of the right hands holding a wheel, the middle one, a sword, the last one, a battle-axe; the first 
of the left hands, a bell, the middle one, a skull-bowl, the last one, a ploughshare; his body embraced 
by the Mother, Buddha-Krotishaurima, her right hand clinging to his neck and her left putting to his 
mouth a red shell [filled with blood], [making] a palatal sound like a crackling [and] a clashing sound, 
and a rumbling sound as loud as thunder; [emanating from the two deities] radiant flames of wisdom, 
blazing from every hair-pore [of the body] and each containing a flaming dorje; [the two deities 
together thus], standing with [one] leg bent and [the other] straight and tense, on a dais supported by 
horned eagles, will come froth from within thine own brain and shine vividly upon thee. Fear that not. 
Be not awed. Know it to be the embodiment of thine own intellect. As it is thine own tutelary deity, be 
not terrified. Be not afraid, for in reality is it the Bhagavan Vairochana, the Father-Mother. 
Simultaneously with the recognition, liberation will be obtained: if they be recognized, merging 
[thyself], in at-one-ment, into the tutelary deity, Buddhahood in the Sambhoga-Kaya will be won. 

[The Ninth Day] 

But if one flee from them, through awe and terror being begotten, then, on the Ninth Day, the blood- 
drinking [deities] of the Vajra Order will come to receive one. Thereupon, the setting-face-to-face is, 
calling the deceased by name, thus: O nobly-born, listen undistractedly. [He of the blood-drinking 
Vajra Order named the Bhagavan Vajra-Heruka, dark-blue in colour; with three faces, six hands, and 
four feet firmly postured; in the first right hand [holding] a dorje, in the middle [one], a skull-bowl, in 
the last [one], a battle axe; in the first of the left, a bell, in the middle [one] a skull-bowl, in the last 
[one], a ploughshare: his body embraced by the Mother Vajra-Krotishaurima, her right [hand] clinging 
to his neck, her left offering to his mouth a red shell [filled with blood], will issue from the eastern 
quarter of thy brain and come to shine upon thee. Fear it not. Be not terrified. Be not awed. Know it to 
be the embodiment of thine own intellect. As it is thine own tutelary deity, be not terrified. In reality 
[they are] the Bhagavan Vajra-Sattva, the Father and Mother. Believe in them. Recognizing them, 
liberation will be obtained at once. By so proclaiming [them], knowing them to be tutelary deities, 
merging [in them] in at-one-ment, Buddhahood will be obtained. 

[The Tenth Day] 

Yet, if one do not recognize them, the obscurations of evil deeds being too great, and flee from them 
through terror and awe, then, on the Tenth Day, the blood-drinking [deities] of the [Precious]-Gem 
Order will come to receive one. Thereupon the setting-face-to-face is, calling the deceased by name, 
thus: 

O nobly- born, listen. On the Tenth Day, the blood-drinking [deity] of the [Precious] -Gem Order 
named Ratna-Heruka, yellow of colour; [having] three faces, six hands, four feet firmly postured; the 
right [face] white, the left, red, the central darkish yellow; enhaloed in flames; in the first of the six 
hands holding a gem, in the middle [one], a trident-staff, in the last [one], a baton; in the first of the left 
[hands], a bell, in the middle [one], a skull-bowl, in the last [one], a trident-staff; his body embraced by 
the Mother Ratna-Krotishaurima, her right [hand] clinging to his neck, her left offering to his mouth a 
red shell [filled with blood], will issue from the southern quarter of thy brain and come to shine upon 
thee. Fear not. Be not terrified. Be not awed. Know them to be the embodiment of thine own intellect. 
[They] being thine own tutelary deity, be not terrified. In reality [they are] the Father-Mother 



26 



Bhagavan Ratna-Sambhava. Believe in them. Recognition [of them] and the obtaining of liberation 
will be simultaneous. 

[The Eleventh Day] 

Yet, though set face-to-face thus, if, through power of evil propensities, terror and awe being produced, 
not recognizing them to be tutelary deities, one flee from them, then, on the Eleventh Day, the blood- 
drinking Lotus Order will come to receive one. Thereupon the setting-face-to-face is, calling the 
deceased by name, thus: 

O nobly-born, on the Eleventh Day, the blood-drinking [deity] of the Lotus Order, called the Bhagavan 
Padma-Heruka, of reddish-black colour; [having] three faces, six hands, and four feet firmly postured, 
the right[face] white, the left, blue, the central, darkish red; in the first of the right of the six hands 
holding a lotus, in the middle [one], a trident-staff, in the last, a club; in the first of the left [hands], a 
bell, in the middle [one], a skull-bowl filled with blood, in the last, a small drum; his body embraced 
by the Mother Padma-Krotishaurima, her right hand clinging to his neck, her left offering to his mouth 
a red shell [filled with blood]; the Father and Mother in union; will issue from the western quarter of 
thy brain and come to shine upon thee. Fear that not. Be not terrified. Be not awed. Rejoice. Recognize 
[them] to be the product of thine own intellect; as [they are] thine own tutelary deity, be not afraid. In 
reality they are the Father -Mother Bhagavan Amitabha. Believe in them. Concomitantly with 
recognition, liberation will come. Through such acknowledging, recognizing them to be tutelary 
deities, in at-one-ment thou wilt merge [into them], and obtain Buddhahood. 

[The Twelfth Day] 

Despite such setting-face-to-face, being still led backwards by evil propensities, terror and awe arising, 
it may be that one recognize not and flee. Thereupon, on the Twelfth Day, the blood-drinking deities of 
the Karmic Order, accompanies by the Kerima, Htamenma, and Wang-chugma, will come to receive 
one. Not recognizing, terror may be produced. Whereupon, the setting-face-to-face is, calling the 
deceased by name, thus: 

O nobly-born, on the Twelfth Day, the blood-drinking deity of the Karmic Order, named Karma- 
Herua, dark green of colour; [having] three faces, six hands, [and] four feet firmly postured; the right 
[face] white, the left, red, the middle, dark green; majestic [of appearance]; in the first of the right of 
six hands, holding a sword, in the middle [one], a trident-staff, in the last, a club; in the first of the left 
[hands], a bell, in the middle [one], a skull-bowl, in the last, a plough-share; his body embraced by the 
Mother Karma-Krotishaurima, her right [hand] clinging to his neck, the left offering to his mouth a red 
shell; the Father and Mother in union, issuing from the northern quarter of thy brain, will come to shine 
upon thee. Fear that not. Be not terrified. Be not awed. Recognize them to be the embodiment of thine 
own intellect. [They] being thine own tutelary deity, be not afraid. In reality they are the Father-Mother 
Bhagavan Amogha-Siddhi. Believe; and be humble; and be fond [of them]. Concomitantly with 
recognition, liberation will come. Through such acknowledging, recognizing them to be tutelary 
deities, in at-one-ment thou wilt merge [into them], and obtain Buddhahood. Through the guru's select 
teaching, one cometh to recognize them to be the thought-forms issuing from one's own intellectual 
faculties. For instance, a person, upon recognizing a lion-skin [to be a lion-skin], is freed [from fear]; 
for though it be only a stuffed lion skin, if one do not know it to be so actually, fear ariseth, but, upon 
being told by some person that it is a lion-skin only, one is freed from fear. Similarly here, too, when 
the bands of blood-drinking deities, huge of proportions, with very thick-set limbs, dawn as big as the 



27 



skies, awes and terror are naturally produced in one. [But] as soon as the setting-face-to-face is heard 
[one] recognizeth them to be one's own tutelary deities and one's own thought- forms. Then, when 
upon the Mother Clear-Light — which one had been accustomed to formerly — a secondary Clear- 
Light, the Offspring Clear-Light, coming together like two intimate acquaintances, blend inseparably, 
and [therefrom] a self-emancipating radiance dawneth upon one, through self-enlightenment and self- 
knowledge one is liberated. 

[The Thirteenth Day] 

If this setting-face-to-face be not obtained, good persons on the Path, too, fall back from here and 
wander into the Sangsdra. Then the Eight Wrathful Ones, the Kerimas, and the Htamenmas, having 
various [animal] heads, issue from within one's own brain and come to shine upon one's self. There- 
upon the setting-face-to-face is, calling the deceased by name, thus: 

O nobly-born, listen undistractedly. On the Thirteenth Day, from the eastern quarter of thy brain, the 
Eight Kerimas will emanate and come to shine upon thee. Fear that not. 

From the east of thy brain, the White Kerima, holding a human corpse, as a club, in the right [hand]; in 
the left, holding a skull-bowl filled with blood, will come to shine upon thee. Fear not. 

From the south, the Yellow Tseurima, holding a bow and arrow, ready to shoot; from the west, the Red 
Pramoha, holding a maWa-banner; from the north, the Black Petali, holding a dorje and a blood-filled 
skull-bowl; from the south-east, the Red Pukkase, holding intestines in the right [hand] and [with] the 
left putting them to her mouth; from the south-west, the Dark-Green Ghasmarl, the left [hand] holding 
a blood- filled skull-bowl, [with] the right stirring it with a dorje, and [she then] drinking it with 
majestic relish; from the north-west, the Yellowish- White Tsandhal?, tearing asunder a head from a 
corpse, the right [hand] holding a heart, the left putting the corpse to the mouth and [she then] eating 
[thereof]; from the north-east, the Dark-Blue Smasha, tearing asunder a head from a corpse and eating 
[thereof]: these, the Eight Kerimas of the Abodes [or Eight Directions], also come to shine upon thee, 
surrounding the Five Blood-drinking Fathers. Yet be not afraid. 

O nobly-born, from the Circle outside of them, the Eight Htamenmas of the [eight] regions [of the 
brain] will come to shine upon thee: from the east, the Dark-Brown Lion-Headed One, the hands 
crossed on the breast, and in the mouth holding a corpse, and shaking the mane; from the south, the 
Red Tiger-Headed One, the hands crossed downwards, grinning and showing the fangs and looking on 
with protruding eyes; from the west, the Black Fox-Headed One, the right [hand] holding a shaving- 
knife, the left holding an intestine, and [she] eating and licking the blood [therefrom]; from the north, 
the Dark-Blue Wolf-Headed One, the two hands tearing open a corpse and looking on with protruding 
eyes; from the south-east, the Yellowish- White Vulture-Headed One, bearing a gigantic [human- 
shaped] corpse on the shoulder and holding a skeleton in the hand; from the south-west, the Dark-Red 
Cemetery-Bird-Headed One, carrying a gigantic corpse on the shoulder; from the north-west, the Black 
Crow-Headed One, the left [hand] holding a skull-bowl, the right holding a sword, and [she] eating 
heart and lungs; from the north-east, the Dark-Blue Owl-Headed One, holding a dorje in the right 
[hand], and holding a skull-bowl in the left, and eating. 

These Eight Htamenmas of the [eight] regions, likewise surrounding the Blood-Drinking Fathers, and 
issuing from within thy brain, come to shine upon thee. Fear that not. Know them to be the thought- 
forms of thine own intellectual faculties. 



28 



[The Fourteenth Day] 



O nobly-born on the Fourteenth Day, the Four Female Door-Keepers, also issuing from within thine 
own brain, will come to shine upon thee. Again recognize. From the east [quarter] of thy brain will 
come to shine the White Tiger-Headed Goad-Holding Goddess, bearing a blood-filled skull-bowl in 
her left [hand]; from the south, the Yellow Sow-Headed Noose-Holding Goddess; from the west, the 
Red Lion-Headed Iron-Chain-Holding Goddess; and from the north, the Green Serpent-Headed Bell- 
Holding Goddess. Thus, issue the Four Female Door-Keepers also from within thine own brain and 
come to shine upon thee; as tutelary deities, recognize them. 

O nobly-born, on the outer Circle of these thirty wrathful deities, Herukas, the twenty-eight various- 
headed mighty goddesses, bearing various weapons, issuing from within thine own brain, will come to 
shine upon thee. Fear that not. Recognize whatever shineth to be the thought-forms of thine own 
intellectual faculties. At this vitally important time, recollect the select teachings of the guru. 

O nobly-born, [there will dawn] from the east the Dark-Brown Yak-Headed Rakshasa-Goddess, 
holding a dorje and a skull; and the Reddish- Yellow Serpent-Headed Brahma-Goddess, holding a lotus 
in her hand; and the Greenish-Black Leopard-Headed Great-Goddess, holding a trident in her hand; 
and the Blue Monkey-Headed Goddess of Inquisitiveness, holding a wheel; and the Red Snow-Bear- 
Headed Virgin-Goddess, bearing a short spear in the hand; and the White Bear-Headed Indra-Goddess, 
holding an intestine-noose in the hand: [these], the Six Yoginis of the East, issuing from within the 
[eastern quarter of thine own] brain, will come to shine upon thee; | fear that not. 

O nobly-born, from the south [will dawn] the Yellow Bat-Headed Delight-Goddess, holding a shaving- 
knife in the hand; and the Red Makara-Headed Peaceful- [Goddess], holding an urn in the hand; and the 
Red Scorpion-Headed Amrita-Goddess, holding a lotus in the hand; and the White Kite-Headed Moon- 
Goddess, | holding a dorje in the hand; and the Dark-Green Fox-Headed Baton-Goddess, flourishing a 
club in the hand; and the Yellowish-Black Tiger-Headed RakshasT, holding a blood-filled skull-bowl in 
the hand: [these] the Six Yoginis of the South, issuing from within the [southern quarter of thine own] 
brain, will come to shine upon thee; fear that not. 

O nobly-born, from the west [will dawn] the Greenish-Black Vulture-Headed Eater-Goddess, holding a 
baton in the hand; and the Red Horse-Headed Delight-Goddess, holding a huge trunk of a corpse; and 
the White Eagle-Headed Mighty-Goddess, holding a club in the hand; and the Yellow Dog-Headed 
RakshasT, holding a dorje in the hand and a shaving-knife and cutting [with this]; and the Red Hoopoo- 
Headed Desire-Goddess, holding a bow and arrow in the hand aimed; and the Green Stag-Headed 
Wealth-Guardian Goddess, holding an urn in the hand: [these], the Six Yoginis of the West, issuing 
from within the [western quarter of thine own] brain, will come to shine upon thee; fear that not. 

O nobly-born, from the north [will dawn] the Blue Wolf-Headed Wind-Goddess, waving a pennant in 
the hand; and the Red Ibex-Headed Woman-Goddess, holding a pointed stake in the hand; and the 
Black Sow-Headed Sow-Goddess, holding a noose of fangs in the hand; and the Red Crow-Headed 
Thunderbolt-Goddess, holding an infant corpse in the hand; and the Greenish-Black Elephant-Headed 
Big-Nosed Goddess, holding in the hand a big corpse and drinking blood from a skull; and the Blue 
Serpent-Headed Water-Goddess, holding in the hand a serpent noose: [these], the Six Yoginis of the 
North, issuing from within [the northern quarter of] thine own brain, will come to shine upon thee; fear 
that not. 



29 



O nobly-born, the Four Yoginis of the Door, issuing from within the brain, will come to shine upon 
thee: from the east, the Black Cuckoo-Headed Mystic Goddess, holding an iron hook in the hand; from 
the south, the Yellow Goat-Headed Mystic Goddess, holding a noose in the hand; from the west, the 
Red Lion-Headed Mystic Goddess, holding an iron chain in the hand; and from the north, the 
Greenish-Black Serpent-Headed Mystic Goddess: [these], the Four Door-Keeping Yoginis, issuing 
from within the brain, will come to shine upon thee. 

Since these Twenty-eight Mighty Goddesses emanate from the bodily powers of Ratna-Sambhava, 
[He] of the Six Heruka Deities, recognize them. 

O nobly-born, the Peaceful Deities emanate from the Voidness of the Dharma-Kdya; recognize them. 
From the Radiance of the Dharma-Kdya emanate the Wrathful Deities; recognize them. 

At this time when the Fifty-eight Blood-Drinking Deities emanating from thine own brain come to 
shine upon thee, if thou knowest them to be the radiances of thine own intellect, thou wilt merge, in the 
state of at-one-ment, into the body of the Blood-Drinking Ones there and then, and obtain 
Buddhahood. 

O nobly-born, by not recognizing now, and by fleeing from the deities out of fear, again sufferings will 
come to overpower thee. If this be not known, fear being begotten of the Blood-Drinking Deities, [one 
is] awed and terrified and fainteth away: one's own thought-forms turn into illusory appearances, and 
one wandereth into the Sangsdra; if one be not awed and terrified, one will not wander into the 
Sangsdra. 

Furthermore, the bodies of the largest of the Peaceful and Wrathful Deities are equal [in vastness] to 
the limits of the heaves; the intermediate, as big as Mt. Meru; the smallest, equal to eighteen bodies 
such as thine own body, set one upon another. Be not terrified at that; be not awed. If all existing 
phenomena shining forth as divine shapes and radiances be recognized to be the emanations of one's 
own intellect, Buddhahood will be obtained at that very instant of recognition. The saying, 
'Buddhahood will be obtained in a moment [of time]' is that which applieth now. Bearing this in mind, 
one will obtain Buddhahood by merging, in at-one-ment, into the Radiances and the Kdyas. 

O nobly-born, whatever fearful and terrifying visions thou mayst see, recognize them to be thine own 
thought-forms. 

O nobly-born, if thou recognize not, and be frightened, then all the Peaceful Deities will shine forth in 
the shape of Maha-Kala; and all the Wrathful Deities will shine [forth] in the form of Dharma-Raja, the 
Lord of Death; and thine own thought- forms becoming Illusions [or Mdras], thou wilt wander into the 
Sangsdra. 

O nobly-born, if one recognize not one's own thought-forms, however learned one may be in the 
Scriptures — both Sutras and Tantras — although practicing religion for a kalpa, one obtaineth not 
Buddhahood. If one recognize one's own thought-forms, by one important art and by one word, 
Buddhahood is obtained. 

If one's thought-forms be not recognized as soon as one dieth, the shapes of Dharma-Raja, the Lord of 
Death, will shine forth on the Chony id-Bar do. The largest of the bodies of Dharma-Raja, the Lord of 
Death, equaling the heavens [in vastness]; the intermediate, Mt. Meru; the smallest, eighteen times 



30 



one's own body, will come filling the world-systems. They will come having their upper teeth biting 
the nether lip; their eyes glassy; their hairs tied up on the top of the head; big-bellied, narrow-wasted; 
holding a [karmic] record-board in the hand; giving utterance from their mouth to sounds of 'Strike! 
Slay!', licking [human] brain, drinking blood, tearing heads from corpses, tearing out [the] hearts: thus 
will [they] come, filling the worlds. 

O nobly-born, when such thought-forms emanate, be thou not afraid, nor terrified; the body which now 
thou possessest being a mental-body of [karmic] propensities, though slain and chopped [to bits], 
cannot die. Because thy body is, in reality, one of voidness, thou needest not fear. The [bodies of the] 
Lord of Death, too, are emanations from the radiances of thine own intellect; they are not constituted 
of matter; voidness cannot injure voidness. Beyond the emanations of thine own intellectual faculties, 
externally, the Peaceful and the Wrathful Ones, the Blood-Drinking Ones, the Various-Headed Ones, 
the rainbow lights, the terrifying forms of the lord of Death, exist not in reality: of this, there is no 
doubt. Thus, knowing this, all the fear and terror is self-dissipated; and, merging in the state of at-one- 
ment, Buddhahood is obtained. 

If thou recognizest in that manner, exerting thy faith and affection towards the tutelary deities and 
believing that they have come to receive thee amidst the ambuscades of the Bardo, think, '[I] take 
refuge [in them]'; and remember the Precious Trinity, exerting towards them [the Trinity] fondness and 
faith. Whosoever thine own tutelary deity may be, recollect now; [and] calling him by name, pray thus: 

'[Alas!], wandering am I in the Bardo; run to my rescue; 
Uphold me by thy grace, O Precious Tutelary!' 

Calling upon the name of thine own guru, pray thus: 

'[Alas!] wandering am I in the Bardo; rescue me! 
[O] let not thy grace forsake me!' 

Have faith in the Blood-Drinking Deities, too, and offer up this prayer: 

Alas! when [I am] wandering in the Sangsara, through force of overpowering illusions, 

On the light-path of the abandonment of fright, fear, and awe, 

May the bands of the Bhagavans, the Peaceful and Wrathful Ones, lead [me], 

May the bands of the Wrathful Goddess Rich in Space be [my] rear-guard, 

And save me from the fearful ambuscades of the Bardo, 

And place me in the state of the Perfectly-Enlightened Buddhas. 

When wandering alone, separated from dear friends, 

When the void forms of one's own thoughts are shining here, 

May the Buddhas, exerting the force of their grace, 

Cause not to come the fear, awe, and terror in the Bardo. 

When the five bright Wisdom-Lights are shining here, 

May recognition come without dread and without awe; 

When the divine bodies of the Peaceful and the Wrathful are shining here; 

May the assurance of fearlessness be obtained and the Bardo be recognized. 

When, by the power of evil karma, misery is being tasted, 

May the tutelary deities dissipate the misery; 

When the natural sound of Reality is reverberating [like] a thousand thunders, 



31 



May they be transmuted into the sounds of the Six Syllables. 
When unprotected, karma having to be followed here, 
I beseech the Gracious Compassionate [One] to protect me; 
When suffering miseries of karmic propensities here, 
May the blissfulness of the Clear Light dawn; 
May the Five Elements not rise up as enemies; 

But may I behold the realms of the Five Orders of the Enlightened Ones.' 

Thus, in earnest faith and humility, offer up the prayer; whereby all fears will vanish and Buddhahood 
in the Sambhoga-Kaya will undoubtedly be won: important is this. Being undistracted, repeat it in that 
manner, three of [even] seven times. 

However heavy the evil karma may be and however weak the remaining karma may be, it is no 
possible that liberation will not be obtained [if one but recognize]. If, nevertheless, despite everything 
done in these [stages of the Bardo], recognition is still not brought about, then — there being danger of 
one's wandering further, into the third Bardo, called the Sidpa Bardo — the setting-face-to-face for that 
will be shown in detail hereinafter. 



[The Conclusion, Showing the Fundamental Importance of the Bardo Teachings] 

Whatever the religious practices of any one may have been — whether extensive or limited — during 
the moments of death various misleading illusions occur; and hence this Thodol is indispensable. To 
those who have meditated much, the real Truth dawneth as soon as the body and consciousness- 
principle part. The acquiring of experience while living is important: they who have [then] recognized 
[the true nature of] their own being, and thus have had some experience, obtain great power during the 
Bardo of the Moments of Death, when the Clear Light dawneth. 

Again, the meditation on the deities of the Mystic Path of the Mantra, [both in the] visualizing and the 
perfecting stages, while living, will be of great influence when the peaceful and wrathful visions dawn 
on the Chonyid Bardo. Thus the training in this Bardo being of particular importance even while 
living, hold to it, read it, commit it to memory, bear it in mind properly, read it regularly thrice; let the 
words and the meanings be very clear; it should be so that the words and the meanings will not be 
forgotten even though a hundred executioners were pursuing [thee]. 

It is called the Great Liberation by Hearing, because even those who have committed the five 
boundless sins are sure to be liberated if they hear it by the path of the ear. Therefore read it in the 
midst of vast congregations. Disseminate it. Through having heard it once, even though one do not 
comprehend it, it will be remembered in the Intermediate State without a word being omitted, for the 
intellect become th ninefold more lucid [there]. Hence it should be proclaimed in the ears of all living 
person; it should be read over the pillows of all persons who are ill; it should be read at the side of all 
corpses: it should be spread broadcast. 

Those who meet with this [doctrine] are indeed fortunate. Save for them who have accumulated much 
merit and absolved many obscurations, difficult is it to meet with it. Even when met with, difficult is it 
to comprehend it. Liberation will be won through simply not disbelieving it upon hearing it. Therefore 
treat this [doctrine] very dearly: it is the essence of all doctrines. 



32 



The Setting-Face-to-Face while experiencing Reality in the Intermediate State, called 'The Teaching 
Which Liberateth By Merely Being Heard And That Which Liberateth By Merely Being Attached', is 
finished. 

Book II 



[The Sidpa Bardo] 

This is known as the good head-part of that called 'The Profound Essence of the Liberation by 
Hearing', — the reminder, the clear setting-face-to-face in the intermediate state when seeking rebirth 



[The Obeisances] 

To the assembled Deities, to the Tutelaries, to the Gurus, Humbly is obeisance paid: 
May Liberation in the Intermediate State be vouchsafed by Them. 



[Introductory Verses] 

Above, in the Great Bardo-Thodol, 
The Bardo called Chonyid was taught; 
And now, of the Bardo called Sidpa, 
The vivid reminder is brought. 

[The After-Death World] 

[Introductory Instructions to the Officiant]: Although, heretofore, while in the Chonyid Bardo, many 
vivid remindings have been given — setting aside those who have had great familiarity with the real 
Truth and those who have good karma — for them of evil karma who have had no familiarity, and for 
them of evil karma who because of the influence thereof become stricken with fear and terror, 
recognition is difficult. These go down to the Fourteenth Day; and, to reimpress them vividly, that 
which follows is to be read. 



[The Bardo Body: Its Birth and Its Supernormal Faculties] 

Worship having been offered to the Trinity, and the prayer invoking the aid of the Buddhas and 
Bodhisattvas having been recited, then, calling the deceased by name, three or seven times, speak thus: 



33 



O nobly-born, listen thou well, and bear at heart that birth in the Hell- world, in the Deva-world, and in 
this Bardo-body is of the kind called supernormal birth. 

Indeed, when thou wert experiencing the radiances of the Peaceful and the Wrathful, in the Chonyid 
Bardo, being unable to recognize, thou didst faint away, through fear, about three and one-half days 
[after thy decease]; and, then, when thou wert recovered from the swoon, thy Knower must have risen 
up in its primordial condition and a radiant body, resembling the former body, must have sprung forth - 
- as the Tantra says, 

'Having a body [seemingly] fleshly [ resembling] the former and that to be produced, 
Endowed with all sense-faculties and power of unimpeded motion, 
Possessing karmic miraculous powers, 

Visible to pure celestial eyes [of Bardo beings] of like nature.' 
Such, then, is the teaching. 

That [radiant body] — thus referred to as [resembling] 'the former and that to be produced' (meaning 
that one will have a body just like the body of flesh and blood, the former human, propensity body) — 
will also be endowed with certain signs and beauties of perfection such as beings of high destiny 
possess. 

This body, [born] of desire, is a thought-form hallucination in the Intermediate State, and it is called 
desire-body. 

At that time — if thou art to be born as a deva — visions of the Deva-world will appear to thee; 
similarly — wherever thou art to be born — if as an asura, or a human being, or a brute, or a preta, or a 
being in Hell, a vision of the place will appear to thee. 

Accordingly, the word 'former' [in the quotation] implieth that prior to the three and one-half days thou 
wilt have been thinking thou hadst the same sort of a body as the former body of flesh and blood, 
possessed by thee in the former existence because of habitual propensities; and the word 'produced' is 
so used because, afterwards, the vision of thy future place of birth will appear to thee. Hence, the 
expression as a whole, 'former and that to be produced', referreth to these [i.e. the fleshly body just 
discarded and the fleshly body to be assumed at rebirth]. 

At that time, follow not the visions which appear to thee. Be not attracted; be not weak: if, through 
weakness, thou be fond of them, thou wilt have to wander amidst the Six Lokas and suffer pain. 

Up to the other day thou wert unable to recognize the Chonyid Bardo and hast had to wander down this 
far. Now, if thou art to hold fast to the real Truth, thou must allow thy mind to rest undistractedly in the 
nothing-to-do, nothing-to-hold condition of the unobscured, primordial, bright, void state of thine 
intellect, to which thou hast been introduced by the guru. [Thereby] thou wilt obtain Liberation 
without having to enter the door of the womb. But if thou art unable to know thyself, then, whosoever 
may be thy tutelary deity and thy guru, meditate on them, in a state of intense fondness and humble 
trust, as overshadowing the crown of thy head. This is of great importance. Be not distracted. 



34 



[Instructions to the Officiant]: Thus speak, and, if recognition result from that, Liberation will be 
obtained, without need of the wandering in the Six Lokas. If, however, through influence of bad 
karma, recognition is made difficult, thereupon say as follows: 

O nobly-born, again listen. 'Endowed with all sense-faculties and power of unimpeded motion' 
implieth [that although] thou mayst have been, when living, blind of the eye, or deaf, or lame, yet on 
this After-Death Plane thine eyes will see forms, and thine ears will hear sounds, and all other sense- 
organs of thine will be unimpaired and very keen and complete. Wherefore the Bardo-body hath been 
spoken of as 'endowed with all sense-faculties'. That [condition of existence, in which thou thyself now 
art] is an indication that thou art deceased and wandering in the Bardo. Act so as to know this. 
Remember the teachings; remember the teachings. 

O nobly-born, 'unimpeded motion' implieth that thy present body being a desire-body-thine intellect 
having been separated from its seat-is not a body of gross matter, so that now thou hast the power to go 
right through any rock-masses, hills, boulders, earth, houses, and Mt. Meru itself without being 
impeded. Excepting Budh-Gaya and the mother's womb, even the King of Mountains, Mt. Meru itself, 
can be passed through by thee, straight forwards and backwards unimpededly. That, too, is an 
indication that thou art wandering in the Sidpa Bardo. Remember thy guru's teachings, and pray to the 
Compassionate Lord. 

O nobly-born, thou art actually endowed with the power of miraculous action, which is not, however, 
the fruit of any samadhi, but a power come to thee naturally; and, therefore, it is of the nature of 
karmic power. Thou art able in a moment to traverse the four continents round about Mr. Meru. Or 
thou canst instantaneously arrive in whatever place thou wishest ; thou hast the power of reaching there 
within the time which a man taketh to bend, or to stretch forth his hand. These various powers of 
illusion and of shape-shifting desire not, desire not. 

None is there [of such powers] which thou mayest desire which thou canst not exhibit. The ability to 
exercise them unimpededly existeth in thee now. Know this, and pray to the guru. 

O nobly-born, 'Visible to pure celestial eyes of like nature' implieth that those [beings] of like nature, 
being those of similar constitution [or level of knowledge] in the Intermediate State, will individually 
see each other. For example, those beings who are destined to be born amongst devas will see each 
other [and so on]. Dote not on them [seen by thee], but meditate upon the Compassionate One. 

'Visible to pure celestial eyes' [also] implieth that the devas, being born [pure] in virtue of merit, are 
visible to the pure celestial eyes of those who practice dhyana. These will not see them at all times; 
when mentally concentrated [upon them] they see [them], when not, they see [them] not. Sometimes, 
even when practicing dhyana, they are liable to become distracted [and not see them]. 



[Characteristics of Existence in the Intermediate State] 

O nobly-born, the possessor of that sort of body will see places [familiarly known on the earth-plane] 
and relatives [there] as one seeth another in dreams. 



35 



Thou seest thy relatives and connexions and speakest to them, but receivest no reply. Then, seeing 
them and thy family weeping, thou thinkest, 'I am dead! What shall I do?' and feelest great misery, just 
like a fish cast out [of water] on red-hot embers. Such misery thou wilt be experiencing at present. But 
feeling miserable will avail thee nothing now. If thou hast a divine guru, pray to him. Pray to the 
Tutelary Deity, the Compassionate One. Even though thou feelest attachment for thy relatives and 
connexions, it will do thee no good. So be not attached. Pray to the Compassionate Lord; thou shalt 
have nought or sorrow, or of terror, or of awe. 

O nobly-born, when thou art driven [hither and thither] by the ever-moving wind of karma, thine 
intellect, having no object upon which to rest, will be like a feather tossed about by the wind, riding on 
the horse of breath. Ceaselessly and involuntarily wilt thou be wandering about. To all those who are 
weeping [thou wilt say], 'Here I am; weep not.' But they not hearing thee, thou wilt think, 'I am dead!' 
And again, at that time, thou wilt be feeling very miserable. Be not miserable in that way. 

There will be a grey twilight-like light, both by night and by day, and at all times. In that kind of 
Intermediate State thou wilt be either for one, two, three, four, five, six, or seven weeks, until the forty- 
ninth day. It hath been said that ordinarily the miseries of the Sidpa Bardo are experienced for about 
twenty-two days; but, because of the determining influence of karma, a fixed period is not assured. 

O nobly-born, at about that time, the fierce wind of karma, terrific and hard to endure, will drive thee 
[onwards], from behind, in dreadful gusts. Fear it not. That is thine own illusion. Thick awesome 
darkness will appear in front of thee continually, from the midst of which there will come such terror- 
producing utterances as 'Strike! Slay!' and similar threats. Fear these not. 

In other cases, of persons of much evil karma, karmically-pvoduced flesh-eating rakshasas [or 
demons] bearing various weapons will utter, 'Strike! Slay!' and so on, making a frightful tumult. They 
will come upon one as if competing amongst themselves as to which [of them] should get hold of one. 
Apparitional illusions, too, of being pursued by various terrible beasts of prey will dawn. Snow, rain, 
darkness, fierce blasts [of wind], and hallucinations of being pursued by many people likewise will 
come; [and] sounds as of mountains crumbling down, and of angry overflowing seas, and of the 
roaring of fire, and of fierce winds springing up. 

When these sounds come one, being terrified by them, will flee before them in every direction, not 
caring whither one fleeth. But the way will be obstructed by three awful precipices — white, and black, 
and red. They will be terror-inspiring and deep, and one will feel as if one were about to fall down 
them. O nobly-born, they are not really precipices; they are Anger, Lust, and Stupidity. 

Know at that time that it is the Sidpa Bardo [in which thou art]. Invoking, by name, the Compassionate 
One, pray earnestly, thus: 'O Compassionate Lord, and my Guru, and the Precious Trinity, suffer it not 
that I (so-and-so by name) fall into the unhappy worlds.' Act so as to forget this not. 

Others who have accumulated merit, and devoted themselves sincerely to religion, will experience 
various delightful pleasures and happiness and ease in full measure. But that class of neutral beings 
who have neither earned merit nor created bad karma will experience neither pleasure nor pain, but a 
sort of colourless stupidity of indifference. O nobly-born, whatever cometh in that manner — whatever 
delightful pleasures thou mayst experience — be not attracted by them; dote not [on them]: think, 'May 
the Guru and the Trinity be worshipped [with these merit-given delights]'. Abandon all dotings and 
hankerings. 



36 



Even though thou dost not experience pleasure, or pain, but only indifference, keep thine intellect in 
the undistracted state of the [meditation upon the] Great Symbol, without thinking that thou art 
meditating. This is of vast importance. 

O nobly-born, at that time, at bridge-heads, in temples, by stiipas of eight kinds, thou wilt rest a little 
while, but thou wilt not be able to remain there very long, for thine intellect hath been separated from 
thine [earth-plane] body. Because of this inability to loiter, thou oft-times wilt feel perturbed and vexed 
and panic-stricken. At times, thy Knower will be dim; at times, fleeting and incoherent. Thereupon this 
thought will occur to thee, 'Alas! I am dead! What shall I do?' and because of such thought the Knower 
will become saddened and the heart chilled, and thou wilt experience infinite misery of sorrow. Since 
thou canst not rest in any one place, and feel impelled to go on, think not of various things, but allow 
the intellect to abide in its own [unmodified] state. 

As to food, only that which hath been dedicated to thee can be partaken of by thee, and no other food. 
As to friends at this time, there will be no certainty. 

These are the indications of the wandering about on the Sidpa Bardo of the mental-body. At the time, 
happiness and misery will depend upon karma. 

Thou wilt see thine own home, the attendants, relatives, and the corpse, and think, "Now I am dead! 
What shall I do?' and being oppressed with intense sorrow, the thought will occur to thee, 'O what 
would I not give to possess a body!' And so thinking, thou wilt be wandering hither and thither seeking 
a body. 

Even though thou couldst enter thy dead body nine times over — owing to the long interval which thou 
hast passed in the Chonyid Bardo — it will have been frozen if in winter, been decomposed if in 
summer, or, otherwise, thy relatives will have cremated it, or interred it, or thrown it into the water, or 
given it to the birds and beasts of pray. Wherefore finding no place for thyself to enter into, thou wilt 
be dissatisfied and have the sensation of being squeezed into cracks and crevices amidst rocks and 
boulders. The experiencing of this sort of misery occurs in the Intermediate State when seeking rebirth. 
Even though thou seekest a body, thou wilt gain nothing but trouble. Put aside the desire for a body; 
and permit thy mind to abide in the state of resignation, and act so as to abide therein. 

By thus being set face to face, one obtaineth liberation from the Bardo. 



[The Judgement] 

[Instructions to the Officiant]: Yet, again, it may be possible that because of the influence of bad 
karma one will not recognize even thus. Therefore, call the deceased by name, and speak as follows: 

O nobly-born, (so-and-so), listen. That thou art suffering so cometh from thine own karma; it is not 
due to any one else's: it is by thine own karma. Accordingly, pray earnestly to the Precious Trinity; that 
will protect thee. If thou neither prayest nor knowest how to meditate upon the Great Symbol nor upon 
any tutelary deity, the Good Genius, who was born simultaneously with thee, will come now and count 
out thy good deeds [with] white pebbles, and the Evil Genius, who was born simultaneously with thee, 
will come and count out thy evil deeds [with] black pebbles. Thereupon, thou wilt be greatly 



37 



frightened, awed, and terrified, and wilt tremble; and thou wilt attempt to tell lies, saying, 'I have not 
committed any evil deed'. 

Then the Lord of Death will say, ' I will consult the Mirror of Karma'. 

So saying, he will look in the Mirror, wherein every good and evil act is vividly reflected. Lying will 
be of no avail. 

Then [one of the Executive Furies of] the Lord of Death will place round thy neck a rope and drag thee 
along; he will cut off thy head, extract thy heart, pull out thy intestines, lick up thy brain, drink thy 
blood, eat thy flesh, and gnaw thy bones; but thou wilt be incapable of dying. Although thy body be 
hacked to pieces, it will revive again. The repeated hacking will cause intense pain and torture. 

Even at the time that the pebbles are being counted out, be not frightened, nor terrified; tell no lies; and 
fear not the Lord of Death. 

Thy body being a mental body is incapable of dying even though beheaded and quartered. In reality, 
thy body is of the nature of voidness; thou needst not be afraid. The Lords of Death are thine own 
hallucinations. Thy desire -body is a body of propensities, and void. Voidness cannot injure voidness; 
the qualityless cannot injure the qualityless. 

Apart from one's own hallucinations, in reality there are no such things existing outside oneself as Lord 
of Death, or god, or demon, or the Bull-headed Spirit of Death. Act so as to recognize this. 

At this time, act so as to recognize that thou art in the Bar do. Meditate upon the Samadhi of the Great 
Symbol. If thou dost not know how to meditate, then merely analyse with care the real nature of that 
which is frightening thee. In reality it is not formed into anything, but is a Voidness which is the 
Dharma-Kaya. 

That Voidness is not of the nature of the voidness of nothingness, but a Voidness at the true nature of 
which thou feelest awed, and before which thine intellect shineth clearly and more lucidly; that is the 
[state of] mind of the Sambhoga-Kaya. 

In that state wherein thou art existing, there is being experienced by thee, in an unbearable intensity, 
voidness and Brightness inseparable — the Voidness bright by nature and the Brightness by nature 
void, and the Brightness inseparable from the Voidness — a state of the primordial [or unmodified] 
intellect, which is the Adi-Kaya. And the power of this, shining unobstructedly, will radiate 
everywhere; it is the Nirmana-Kaya. 

O nobly-born, listen unto me undistractedly. By merely recognizing the Four Kayas, thou art certain to 
obtain perfect Emancipation in any of Them. Be not distracted. The line of demarcation between 
Buddhas and sentient beings lieth herein. This moment is one of great importance; if thou shouldst be 
distracted now, it will require innumerable aeons of time for thee to come out of the Quagmire of 
Misery. 

A saying, the truth of which is applicable, is: 



38 



'In a moment of time, a marked differentiation is created; In a moment of time, Perfect Enlightenment 
is obtained.' 

Till the moment which hath just passed, all this Bardo hath been dawning upon thee and yet thou hast 
not recognized, because of being distracted. On this account, thou hast experienced all the fear and 
terror. Shouldst thou become distracted now, the chords of divine compassion of the Compassionate 
Eyes will break, and thou wilt go into the place from which there is no [immediate] liberation. 
Therefore, be careful. Even though thou hast not recognized ere this — despite thus being set face to 
face — thou wilt recognize and obtain liberation here. 

[Instructions to the Officiant]: If it be an illiterate boor who knoweth not how to meditate, then say 
this: 

O nobly-born, if thou knowest not how thus to meditate, act so as to remember the Compassionate 
One, and the Sangha, the Dharma, and the Buddha, and pray. Think of all these fears and terrifying 
apparitions as being thine own tutelary deity, or as the Compassionate One. Bring to thy recollection 
the mystic name that hath been given thee at the time of thy sacred initiation when thou wert a human 
being, and the name of thy guru, and tell them to the Righteous King of the Lord[s] of Death. Even 
though thou fallest down precipices, thou wilt not be hurt. Avoid awe and terror. 



[The All-Determining Influence of Thought] 

[Instructions to the Officiant]: Say that; for by such setting-face-to-face, despite the previous non- 
liberation, liberation ought surely to be obtained here. Possible, [however,] liberation may not be 
obtained even after that setting-face-to-face; and earnest and continued application being essential, 
again calling the deceased by name, speak as follows: 

O nobly-born, thy immediate experiences will be of momentary joys followed by momentary sorrows, 
of great intensity, like the [taut and relaxed] mechanical actions of catapults. Be not in the least 
attached [to the joys] nor displeased [by the sorrows] of that. 

If thou art to be born on a higher plane, the vision of that higher plane will be dawning upon thee. 

Thy living relatives may — by way of dedication for the benefit of thee deceased — be sacrificing many 
animals, and performing religious ceremonies, and giving alms. Thou, because of thy vision not being 
purified, mayst be inclined to grow very angry at their actions and bring about, at this moment, thy 
birth in Hell: whatever those left behind thee may be doing, act thou so that no angry thought can arise 
in thee, and meditate upon love for them. 

Furthermore, even if thou feelest attached to the worldly goods thou hast left behind, or, because of 
seeing such worldly goods of thine in the possession of other people and being enjoyed by them, thou 
shouldst feel attached to them through weakness, or feel angry with thy successors, that feeling will 
affect the psychological moment in such a way that, even though thou wert destined to be born on 
higher and happier planes, thou wilt be obliged to be born in Hell, or in the world of pretas [or 
unhappy ghosts]. On the other hand, even if thou art attached to worldly goods left behind, thou wilt 
not be able to possess them, and they will be of no use to thee. Therefore, abandon weakness and 



39 



attachment for them; cast them away wholly; renounce them from thy heart. No matter who may be 
enjoying thy worldly goods, have no feeling of miserliness, but be prepared to renounce them 
willingly. Think that thou art offering them to the Precious Trinity and to thy guru, and abide in the 
feeling of unattachment, devoid of weakness [of desire]. 

Again, when any recitation of the Kamkani Mantra is being made on thy behalf as a funeral rite, or 
when any rite for the absolving of bad karma liable to bring about thy birth in lower regions is being 
performed for thee, the sight of their being conducted in an incorrect way, mixed up with sleep and 
distraction and non-observance of the vows and lack of purity [on the part of any officiant], and such 
things indicating levity — all of which thou wilt be able to see because thou art endowed with limited 
karmic power of prescience — thou mayst feel lack of faith and entire disbelief [in thy religion]. Thou 
wilt be able to apprehend any fear and fright, any black actions, irreligious conduct, and incorrectly 
recited rituals. In thy mind thou mayst think, 'Alas! Thy are, indeed, playing me false'. Thinking thus, 
thou wilt be extremely depressed, and, through great resentment, thou wilt acquire disbelief and loss of 
faith, instead of affection and humble trustfulness. This affecting the psychological moment, thou wilt 
be certain to be born in one of the miserable states. 

Such [thought] will not only be of no use to thee, but will do thee great harm. However incorrect the 
ritual and improper the conduct of the priests performing thy funeral rites, [think], 'What! Mine own 
thoughts must be impure! How can it be possible that the words of the Buddha should be incorrect? It 
is like the reflection of the blemishes on mine own face which I see in a mirror; mine own thoughts 
must [indeed] be impure. As for these [i.e. the priests], the Sangha is their body, the Dharma their 
utterance, and in their mind they are the Buddha in reality: I will take refuge in them'. 

Thus thinking, put thy trust in them and exercise sincere love towards them. Then whatever is done for 
thee [by those] left behind will truly tend to thy benefit. Therefore the exercise of that love is of much 
importance; do not forget this. 

Again, even if thou wert to be born in one of the miserable states and the light of that miserable state 
shone upon thee, yet by thy successors and relatives performing white religious rites unmixed with evil 
actions, and the abbots and learned priests devoting themselves, body, speech, and mind, to the 
performance of the correct meritorious rituals, the delight from thy feeling greatly cheered at seeing 
them will, by its own virtue, so affect the psychological moment that, even though thou deservest a 
birth in the unhappy states, there will be brought about thy birth on a higher and happier plane. 
[Therefore] thou shouldst not create impious thoughts, but exercise pure affection and humble faith 
towards all impartially. This is highly important. Hence be extremely careful. 

O nobly-born, to sum up: thy present intellect in the Intermediate State having no firm object whereon 
to depend, being of little weight and continuously in motion, whatever thought occur to thee now — be 
it pious or impious — will wield great power; therefore think not in thy mind of impious things, but 
recall any devotional exercises; or, if thou wert unaccustomed to any such exercises, [show forth] pure 
affection and humble faith; pray to the Compassionate One, or to thy tutelary deities; with full resolve, 
utter this prayer: 

Alas! While wandering alone, separated from loving friends, 

When the vacuous, reflected boy of mine own mental ideas dawneth upon me, 

May the Buddhas, vouchsafing their power of compassion, 

Grant that there shall be no fear, awe, or terror in the Bardo. 



40 



When experiencing miseries, through the power of evil karma, 

May the tutelary deities dispel the miseries. 

When the thousand thunders of the Sound of Reality reverberate, 

May they all be sounds of the Six Syllables. 

When Karma follows, without there being any protector, 

May the Compassionate One protect me, I pray. 

When experiencing the sorrows of karmic propensities here, 

May the radiance of the happy clear light of Samadhi shine upon me. 

Earnest prayer in this form will be sure to guide thee along; thou mayst rest assured that thou wilt not 
be deceived. Of great importance is this: through that being recited, again recollection cometh; and 
recognition and liberation will be achieved. 



[The Dawning of the Lights of the Six Lokas] 

[Instructions to the Officiant]: Yet — though this [instruction] be so oft repeated — if recognition be 
difficult, because of the influence of evil karma, much benefit will come from repeating these settings- 
face-to-face many times over. Once more, [then,] call the deceased by name, and speak as follows: 

O nobly-born, if thou hast been unable to apprehend the above, henceforth the body of the past life will 
become more and more dim and the body of the future life will become more and more clear. 
Saddened at this [thou wilt think], 'O what misery I am undergoing! Now, whatever body I am to get, I 
shall go and seek [it]'. So thinking, thou wilt be going hither and thither, ceaselessly and distractedly. 
Then there will shine upon thee the lights of the Six Sangsaric Lokas. The light of that place wherein 
thou art to be born, through power of karma, will shine most prominently. 

O nobly-born, listen. If thou desirest to know what those six lights are; there will shine upon thee a dull 
white light from the Deva-world, a dull green light from the Asura-world, a dull yellow light from the 
Human- world, a dull blue light from the Brute- world, a dull red light from the Preta-wovid, and a 
smoke-coloured light from the Hell-world. At that time, by the power of karma, thine own body will 
partake of the colour of the light of the place wherein thou art to be born. 

O nobly-born, the special art of these teachings is especially important at this moment: whichever light 
shineth upon thee now, meditate upon it as being the Compassionate One; from whatever place the 
light cometh, consider that [place] to be [or to exist in] the Compassionate One. This is an exceedingly 
profound art; it will prevent birth. Or whosoever thy tutelary deity may be, meditate upon the form for 
much time — as being apparent yet non-existent in reality, like a form produced by a magician. That is 
called the pure illusory form. Then let the [visualization of the] tutelary deity melt away from the 
extremities, till nothing at all remaineth visible of it; and put thyself in the state of the Clearness and 
the Voidness — which thou canst not conceive as something — and abide in that state for a little while. 
Again meditate upon the tutelary deity; again meditate upon the Clear Light: do this alternately. 
Afterwards, allow thine own intellect also to melt away gradually, [beginning] from the extremities. 

Wherever the ether pervadeth, consciousness pervadeth; wherever consciousness pervadeth, the 
Dharma-Kaya pervadeth. Abide tranquilly in the uncreated state of the Dharma-Kaya. In that state, 
birth will be obstructed and Perfect Enlightenment gained. 



41 



[The Process of Rebirth] 



[The Closing of the Door of the Womb] 

[Instructions to the Officiant]: Again, if through great weakness in devotions and lack of familiarity 
one be not able to understand, illusion may overcome one, and one will wander to the doors of wombs. 
The instruction for the closing of the womb-doors becometh very important; call the deceased by name 
and say this: 

O nobly-born, if thou hast not understood the above at this moment, through the influence of karma, 
thou wilt have the impression that thou art either ascending, or moving along on a level, or going 
downwards. Thereupon, meditate upon the Compassionate One. Remember. Then, as said above, gusts 
of wind, and icy blasts, hail-storms, and darkness, and impression of being pursued by many people 
will come upon thee. On fleeing from these [hallucinations], those who are unendowed with 
meritorious karma will have the impression of fleeing into places of misery; those who are endowed 
with meritorious karma will have the impression of arriving in places of happiness. Thereupon, O 
nobly-born, in whatever continent or place thou art to be born, the signs of that birthplace will shine 
upon thee then. 

For this moment there are several vital profound teachings. Listen undistractedly. Even though thou 
hast not apprehended by the above settings-face-to-face, here [thou wilt, because] even those who are 
very weak in devotions will recognize the signs. Therefore listen. 

[Instructions to the Officiant]: Now it is very important to employ the methods of closing the womb- 
door. Wherefore it is necessary to exercise the utmost care. There are two [chief] ways of closing: 
preventing the being who would enter from entering, and closing the womb-door which might be 
entered. 



[Method of Preventing Entry into a Womb] 

The instructions for preventing the being from entering are thus: 

O nobly-born, (so-and-so by name,) whosoever may have been thy tutelary deity, tranquilly meditate 
upon him-as upon the reflection of the moon in water, apparent yet non-existent [as a moon], like a 
magically-produced illusion. If thou hast no special tutelary, meditate either upon the Compassionate 
Lord or upon me; and, with this in mind, meditate tranquilly. 

Then, causing the [visualized form of the] tutelary deity to melt away from the extremities, meditate, 
without any thought-forming, upon the vacuous Clear Light. This is a very profound art; in virtue of it, 
a womb is not entered. 



42 



[The First Method of Closing the Womb-Door] 



In that manner meditate; but even though this be found inadequate to prevent thee from entering into a 
womb, and if thou findest thyself ready to enter into one, then there is the profound teaching for 
closing the womb-door. Listen thou unto it: 

'When, at this time, alas! the Sidpa Bardo is dawning upon oneself, 

Holding in mind one single resolution, 

Persist in joining up the chain of good karma; 

Close up the womb-door, and remember the opposition. 

This is a time when earnestness and pure love are necessary; 

Abandon jealousy, and meditate upon the Guru Father-Mother.' 

Repeat this, from thine own mouth, distinctly; and remember its meaning vividly, and meditate upon it. 
The putting of this into practice is essential. 

The significance of the above teaching, 'When, at this time, the Sidpa Bardo is dawning upon me [or 
upon oneself]', is that now thou art wandering in the Sidpa Bardo. As a sign of this, if thou lookest into 
water, or into mirrors, thou wilt see no reflection of thy face or body; nor doth thy body cast any 
shadow. Thou hast discarded now thy gross material body of flesh and blood. These are the indications 
that thou art wandering about in the Sidpa Bardo. 

At this time, thou must form, without distraction, one single resolve in thy mind. The forming of one 
single resolve is very important now. It is like directing the course of a horse by the use of the reins. 

Whatever thou desirest will come to pass. Think not upon evil actions which might turn the course [of 
thy mind]. Remember thy [spiritual] relationship with the Reader of this Bardo Thodol, or with any 
one from whom thou hast received teachings, initiation, or spiritual authorization for reading religious 
texts while in the human world; and persevere in going on with good acts: this is very essential. Be not 
distracted. The boundary line between going upwards or going downwards is here now. If thou givest 
way to indecision for even a second, thou wilt have to suffer misery for a long, long time. This is the 
moment. Hold fast to one single purpose. Persistently join up the chain of good acts. 

Thou hast come now to the time of closing the womb-door. 'This is a time when earnestness and pure 
love are necessary', which implieth that now the time hath come when, first of all, the womb-door 
should be closed, there being five methods of closing. Bear this well at heart. 

[The Second Method of Closing the Womb-Door] 

O nobly-born, at this time thou wilt see visions of males and females in union. When thou seest them, 
remember to withhold thyself from going between them. Regarding the father and mother as thy Guru 
and the Divine Mother, meditate upon them and bow down; humbly exercise thy faith; offer up mental 
worship with great fervency; and resolve that thou wilt request [of them] religious guidance. 

By that resolution alone, the womb ought certainly to be closed; but if it is not closed even by that, and 
thou findest thyself ready to enter into it, meditate upon the Divine Guru Father-Mother, as upon any 
tutelary deity, or upon the Compassionate Tutelary and Shakti; and meditating upon them, worship 



43 



them with mental offerings. Resolve earnestly that thou wilt request [of them] a boon. By this, the 
womb-door ought to be closed. 

[The Third Method of Closing the Womb-Door] 

Still, if it be not closed even by that, and thou findest thyself ready to enter the womb, the third method 
of repelling attachment and repulsion is hereby shown unto thee: 

There are four kinds of birth: birth by egg, birth by womb, supernormal birth, and birth by heat and 
moisture. Amongst these four, birth by egg and birth by womb agree in character. 

As above said, the visions of males and females in union will appear. If, at that time, one entereth into 
the womb through the feelings of attachment and repulsion, one may be born either as a horse, a fowl, 
a dog, or a human being. 

If [about] to be born as a male, the feeling of itself being a male dawneth upon the Knower, and a 
feeling of intense hatred towards the father and of jealousy and attraction towards the mother is 
begotten. If [about] to be born as a female, the feeling of itself being a female dawneth upon the 
Knower, and a feeling of intense hatred towards the mother and of intense attraction and fondness 
towards the father is begotten. Through this secondary cause — [when] entering upon the path of ether, 
just at the moment when the sperm and the ovum are about to unite — the Knower experienceth the 
bliss of the simultaneously-born state, during which state it fainteth away into unconsciousness. 
[Afterwards] it findeth itself encased in oval form, in the embryonic state, and upon emerging from the 
womb and opening its eyes it may find itself transformed into a young dog. Formerly it had been a 
human being, but now if it have become a dog it findeth itself undergoing sufferings in a dog's kennel; 
or [perhaps] as a young pig in a pigsty, or as an ant in an ant-hill, or as an insect, or a grub in a hole, or 
as a calf, or a kid, or a lamb, from which shape there is no [immediate] returning. Dumbness, stupidity, 
and miserable intellectual obscurity are suffered, and a variety of sufferings experienced. In like 
manner, one may wander into hell, or into the world of unhappy ghosts, or throughout the Six Lokas, 
and endure inconceivable miseries. 

Those who are voraciously inclined towards this [i.e. sangsaric existence], or those who do not at heart 
fear it — O dreadful! O dreadful! Alas! — and those who have not received a guru's teachings, will fall 
down into the precipitous depths of the Sangsdra in this manner, and suffer interminably and 
unbearably. Rather than meet with a like fate, listen thou unto my words and bear these teachings of 
mine at heart. 

Reject the feelings of attraction or repulsion, and remember one method of closing the womb-door 
which I am going to show to thee. Close the womb-door and remember the opposition. This is the time 
when earnestness and pure love are necessary. As hath been said, Abandon jealousy, and meditate 
upon the Guru Father-Mother. 

As above explained, if to be born as a male, attraction towards the mother and repulsion towards the 
father, and if to be born as a female, attraction towards the father and repulsion towards the mother, 
together with a feeling of jealousy [for one or the other] which ariseth, will dawn upon thee. 

For that time there is a profound teaching. O nobly-born, when the attraction and repulsion arise, 
meditate as follows: 



44 



'Alas! what a being of evil karma am I! That I have wandered in the Sangsara hitherto, hath been 
owing to attraction and repulsion. If I still go on feeling attraction and repulsion, then I shall wander in 
endless Sangsara and suffer in the Ocean of Misery for a long, long time, by sinking therein. Now I 
must not act through attraction and repulsion. Alas, for me! Henceforth I will never act through 
attraction and repulsion.' 

Meditating thus, resolve firmly that thou wilt hold on to that [resolution]. It hath been said, in the 
Tantras, 'The door of the womb will be closed up by that alone.' 

O nobly-born, be not distracted. Hold thy mind one-pointedly upon that resolution. 

[The Fourth Method of Closing the Womb-Door] 

Again, even if that doth not close the womb, and one findenth [oneself] ready to enter the womb, then 
by means of the teaching [called] 'The Untrue and the Illusory' the womb should be closed. That is to 
be meditated as follows: 

'O, the pair, the father and the mother, the black rain, the storm-blasts, the clashing sounds, the 
terrifying apparitions, and all the phenomena, are, in their true nature, illusions. Howsoever they may 
appear, no truth is there [in them]; all substances are unreal and false. Like dreams and like apparitions 
are they; they are non-permanent; they have no fixity. What advantage is there in being attached [to 
them]! What advantage is there in having fear and terror of them! It is the seeing of the non-existent as 
the existent. All these are hallucinations of one's own mind. The illusory mind itself doth not exist 
from eternity; therefore where should these external [phenomena] exist? 

'I, by not having understood these [things] in that way hitherto, have held the non-existent to be the 
existent, the unreal to be the real, the illusory to be the actual, and have wandered in the Sangsara so 
long. And even now if I do not recognize them to be illusions, then, wandering in the Sangsara for 
long ages, [I shall be] certain to fall into the morass of various miseries. 

'Indeed, all these are like dreams, like hallucinations, like echoes, like the cities of the Odour-eaters, 
like mirage, like mirrored forms, like phantasmagoria, like the moon seen in water — not real even for 
a moment. In truth, they are unreal; they are false.' 

By holding one-pointedly to that train of thought, the belief that they are real is dissipated; and, that 
being impressed upon the inner continuity [of consciousness], one turneth backwards: if the knowledge 
of the unreality be impressed deeply in that way, the womb-door will be closed. 

[The Fifth Method of Closing the Womb-Door] 

Still, even when this is done, if the holding [phenomena] as real remaineth undissolved, the womb- 
door is not closed; and, if one be ready to enter into the womb, thereupon one should close the womb- 
door by meditating upon the Clear Light, this being the fifth [method]. The meditation is performed as 
follows: 

'Lo! All substances are mine own mind; and this mind is vacuousness, is unborn, and unceasing.' 



45 



Thus meditating, allow the mind to rest in the uncreated [state] — like, for example, the pouring of 
water into water. The mind should be allowed its own easy mental posture, in its natural [or 
unmodified] condition, clear and vibrant. By maintaining this relaxed, uncreated [state of mind], the 
womb-doors of the four kinds of birth are sure to be closed. Meditate thus until the closing is 
successfully accomplished. 

[Instructions to the Officiant]: Many very profound teachings for closing the womb-door have been 
given above. It is impossible that they should not liberate people of the highest, the average, and the 
lowest intellectual capacity. If it be asked why this should be so, it is because, firstly, the 
consciousness in the Bardo possessing supernormal power of perception of a limited kind, whatever is 
spoken to one then is apprehended. Secondly, because — although [formerly] deaf or blind — here, at 
this time, all one's faculties are perfect, and one can hear whatever is addressed to one. Thirdly, being 
continually pursued by awe and terror, one thinketh, 'What is best?' and, being alertly conscious, one is 
always coming to hear whatever may be told to one. Since the consciousness is without a prop, it 
immediately goeth to whatever place the mind directeth. Fourthly, it is easy to direct it. The memory is 
ninefold more lucid than before. Even though stupid [before], at this time, by the workings of karma, 
the intellect becometh exceedingly clear and capable of meditating whatever is taught to it. [Hence the 
answer is], it is because it [i.e. the Knower] possesseth these virtues. 

That the performance of funeral rites should be efficacious, is, likewise, because of that reason. 
Therefore, the perseverance in the reading of the Great Bardo Thodol for forty-nine days is of the 
utmost importance. Even if not liberated at one setting-face-to-face, one ought to be liberated at 
another; this is why so many different settings-face-to-face are necessary. 

[The Choosing of the Womb-Door] 

[Instructions to the Officiant]: There are, nevertheless, many classes of those who — though reminded, 
and instructed to direct their thoughts one-pointedly — are not liberated, owing to the great force of evil 
karmic obscurations, and because of being unaccustomed to pious deeds, and of being much 
accustomed to impious deeds throughout the aeons. Therefore, if the womb-door hath not been closed 
ere this, a teaching also for the selection of a womb-door is going to be given hereinafter. Now, 
invoking the aid of all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, repeat the Refuge; and, once more calling the 
deceased by name thrice, speak as follows: 

'O nobly-born, (so-and-so) listen. Although the above setting-face-to-face teachings have been given 
one-pointedly, yet thou hast not understood them. Therefore, if the womb-door hath not been closed, it 
is almost time to assume a body. Make thy selection of the womb [according to] this best teaching. 
Listen attentively, and hold it in mind. 

[The Premonitory Visions of the Place of Rebirth] 

O nobly-born, now the signs and characteristics of the place of birth will come. Recognize them. In 
observing the place of birth, choose the continent too. 

If to be born in the Eastern Continent of Liipah, a lake adorned with swans, male and female, [floating 
thereon], will be seen. Go not there. Recollect the revulsion [against going there]. If one goeth there, 
[that] Continent — though endowed with bliss and ease — is one wherein religion doth not predominate. 
Therefore, enter not therein. 



46 



If to be born in the Southern Continent of Jambu, grand delightful mansions will be seen. Enter therein, 
if one is to enter. 

If to be born in the Western Continent of Balang-Chod, a lake adorned with horses, male and female, 
[grazing on its shores], will be seen. Go not even there, but return here. Although wealth and 
abundance are there, that being a land wherein religion doth not prevail, enter not there. 

If to be born in the Northern Continent of Daminyan, a lake adorned with male and female cattle, 
[grazing on its shores], or trees, [round about it], will be seen. Although duration of life, and merits are 
there, yet that Continent, too, is one wherein religion doth not predominate. Therefore enter not. 

These are the premonitory signs [or visions] of the taking rebirth in those [Continents]. Recognize 
them. Enter not. 

If one is to be born as a deva, delightful temples [or mansions] built of various precious metals also 
will be seen. One may enter therein; so enter therein. 

If to be born as an asura, either a charming forest will be seen or else circles of fire revolving in 
opposite directions. Recollect the revulsion; and do not enter therein by any means. 

If to be born amongst beasts, rock-caverns and deep holes in the earth and mists will appear. Enter not 
therein. 

If to be born amongst pretas, desolate treeless plains and shallow caverns, jungle glades and forest 
wastes will be seen. If one goeth there, taking birth as a preta, one will suffer various pangs of hunger 
and thirst. Recollect the revulsion; and do not go there by any means. Exert great energy [not to enter 
therein]. 

If to be born in Hell, songs [like wailings], due to evil karma, will be heard. [One will be] compelled to 
enter therein unresistingly. Lands of gloom, black houses, and white houses, and black holes in the 
earth, and black roads along which one hath to go, will appear. If one goeth there, one will enter into 
Hell; and, suffering unbearable pains of heat and cold, one will be very long in getting out of it. Go not 
there into the midst of that. It hath been said, Exert thine energy to the utmost': this is needed now. 

[The Protection Against the Tormenting Furies] 

O nobly-born, although one liketh it not, nevertheless, being pursued from behind by karmic 
tormenting furies, one feeleth compelled involuntarily to go on; [and with] tormenting furies in the 
front, and life-cutters as a vanguard leading one, and darkness and karmic tornadoes, and noises and 
snow and rain and terrifying hail-storms and whirlwinds of icy blasts occurring, there will arise the 
thought of fleeing from them. 

Thereupon, by going to seek refuge because of fear, [one beholdeth] the aforesaid visions of great 
mansions, rock-caverns, earth-caverns, jungles, and lotus blossoms which close [on entering them]; 
and one escapeth by hiding inside [one of such places] and fearing to come out therefrom, and 
thinking, 'To go out is not good now'. And fearing to depart therefrom, one will feel greatly attracted to 
one's place of refuge [which is the womb]. Fearful lest, by going out, the awe and terror of the Bardo 



47 



will meet one, and afraid to encounter them, if one hid oneself within [the place or womb chosen], one 
will thereby assume a very undesirable body and suffer various sufferings. 

That [condition] is an indication that evil spirits and rdkshasas [or demons] are interfering with one. 
For this time there is a profound teaching. Listen; and heed it: 

At that time — when the tormenting furies will be in pursuit of thee, and when awe and terror will be 
occurring — instantaneously [visualize] either the Supreme Heruka, or Haya-gri'va, or Vajra-Pani, or 
[any other] tutelary deity if thou hast such, perfect of form, huge of body, of massive limbs, wrathful 
and terrifying in appearance, capable of reducing to dust all mischievous spirits. Visualize it 
instantaneously. The gift-waves and the power of its grace will separate thee from the tormenting 
furies and thou wilt obtain the power to select the womb-door. This is the vital art of the very profound 
teaching; therefore bear it thoroughly well in mind. 

O nobly-born, the dhyani and other deities are born of the power of Samddhi [or meditation]. Pretas 
[or unhappy spirits or shades] and malignant spirits of certain orders are those who by changing their 
feeling [or mental attitude] while in the Intermediate State assumed that very shape which they 
thereafter retained, and became pretas, evil spirits, and rdkshasas, possessed of the power of shape- 
shifting. All pretas, who exist in space, who traverse the sky, and the eighty thousand species of 
mischievous sprites, have become so by changing their feelings [while] in the mental-body [on the 
Bardo-plam]. 

At this time, if one can recollect the Great Symbol [teachings] concerning the Voidness, that will be 
best. If one be not trained in that, train the [mental] powers into [regarding] all things as illusion [or 
maya]. Even if this be impossible, be not attracted by anything. By meditating upon the Tutelary Deity, 
the Great Compassionate [One], Buddhahood will be obtained in the Sambhoga-Kdya. 



[The Alternative Choosing: Supernormal Birth; or Womb-Birth] 

If, however, O nobly-born, thou hast, because of the influence of karma, to enter into a womb, the 
teaching for the selection of the womb-door will be explained now. Listen. 

Do not enter into any sort of womb which may be come by. If compelled by tormenting furies to enter, 
meditate upon Hayagriva. 

Since thou now possesseth a slender supernormal power of foreknowledge, all the places [of birth] will 
be known to thee, one after another. Choose accordingly. 

There are two alternatives; the transference [of the consciousness-principle] to a pure Buddha realm, 
and the selection of the impure sangsaric womb-door, to be accomplished as follows: 

[Supernormal Birth by Transference to a Paradise Realm] 

In the first-the transference to a pure paradise-the projection is directed [by thinking or meditating] 
thus: 



48 



'Alas! how sorrowful it is that I, during all the innumerable kalpas since illimitable, beginningless time, 
until now, have been wandering in the Quagmire of Sangsdral O how painful that I have not been 
liberated into Buddhahood by knowing the consciousness to be the self hitherto ere this! Now doth this 
Sangsdra disgust me, horrify me, sicken me; no hath the hour come to prepare to flee from it. I myself 
will so act as to be born in The Happy Western Realm, at the feet of the Buddha Amitabha, 
miraculously from amidst a lotus blossom. 

Thinking thus, direct the resolution [or wish] earnestly [to that Realm]; or, likewise, to any Realm thou 
mayst desire — The Pre-eminently Happy Realm, or The Thickly-Formed Realm, or The Realm [of 
Those} of Long Hair, or the Illimitable Vihara of the Lotus Radiance, in Urgyan's presence; or direct 
thy wish to any Realm which thou desirest most, in undistracted one-pointedness [of mind]. By doing 
so, birth will take place in that Realm instantaneously. 

Or, if thou desirest to go to the presense of Maitreya, in the Tushita Heavens, by directing an earnest 
wish in like manner and thinking, 'I will go to the presence of Maitreya in the Tushita Heavens, for the 
hour hath struck for me here in the Intermediate State', birth will be obtained miraculously inside a 
lotus blossom in the presence of Maitreya. 



[Womb-Birth: The Return to the Human World] 

If, however, such [a supernormal birth] be not possible, and one delighteth in entering a womb or hath 
to enter, there is a teaching for the selection of the womb-door of impure Sangsdra. Listen: 

Looking with thy supernormal power of foresight over the Continents, as above, choose that in which 
religion prevaileth and enter therein. 

If birth is to be obtained over a heap of impurities, a sensation that it is sweet-smelling will attract one 
towards that impure mass, and birth will be obtained thereby. 

Whatsoever they [the wombs or visions] may appear to be, do not regard them as they are [or seem]; 
and by not being attracted or repelled a good womb should be chosen. In this, too, since it is important 
to direct the wish, direct it thus: 

Ah! I ought to take birth as a Universal Emperor; or as a Brahmin, like a great sal-tree; or as the son of 
an adept in siddhic powers; or in a spotless hierarchical line; or in the caste of a man who is filled with 
[religious] faith; and, being born so, be endowed with great merit so as to be able to serve all sentient 
beings.' 

Thinking thus, direct thy wish, and enter into the womb. At the same time, emit thy gift-waves [of 
grace, or good-will] upon the womb which thou art entering, [transforming it thereby] into a celestial 
mansion. And believing that the Conquerors and their Sons [or Bodhisattvas] of the Ten Directions, 
and the tutelary deities, especially the Great Compassionate [One}, are conferring power thereon, pray 
unto Them, and enter the womb. 



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In selecting the womb-door thus, there is a possibility of error: through the influence of karma, good 
wombs may appear bad and bad wombs may appear good; such error is possible. At that time, too, the 
art of the teaching being important, thereupon do as follows: 

Even though a womb may appear good, do not be attracted; if it appear bad, have no repulsion towards 
it. To be free from repulsion and attraction, or from the wish to take or to avoid — to enter in the mood 
of complete impartiality — is the most profound of arts. Excepting only for the few who have had some 
practical experience [in psychical development], it is difficult to get rid of the remnants of the disease 
of evil propensities. 

[Instructions to the Officiant]: Therefore, if unable to part with the attraction and repulsion, those of 
the least mentality and of evil karma will be liable to take refuge amongst brutes. The way to repel 
therefrom is to call the deceased by name again, thus: 

O nobly-born, if thou art not able to rid thyself of attraction and repulsion, and know not the [art of] 
selecting the womb-door, whichever of the above visions may appear, call up on the Precious Trinity 
and take refuge [therein]. Pray unto the Great Compassionate One. Walk with thy head erect. Know 
thyself in the Bardo. Cast away all weakness and attraction towards thy sons and daughters or any 
relations left behind thee; they can be of no use to thee. Enter upon the White Light-[Path] of the 
devas, or upon the Yellow Light-[Path] of human beings; enter into the great mansions of precious 
metals and into the delightful gardens. 

[Instructions to the Officiant]: Repeat that [address to the deceased] seven times over. Then there 
should be offered 'The Invocation of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas'; 'The Path of Good Wishes Giving 
Protection from Fears in the Bardo'; 'The Root Words [or Verses] of the Bardo'; and 'The Rescuer [or 
Path of Good Wishes for Saving] from the Ambuscades [or Dangerous Narrow Passage-Way] of the 
Bardo'. These are to be read over thrice. 'The Tahdol', which liberateth the body-aggregate, should also 
be read out. Then 'The Rite which Conferreth of Itself Liberation in [Virtue of] Propensity' should be 
read too. 

[The General Conclusion] 

By the reading of these properly, those devotees [or yogis] who are advanced in understanding can 
make the best use of the Transference at the moment of death. They need not traverse the Intermediate 
State, but will depart by the Great Straight-Upward [Path]. Others who are a little less practiced [in 
things spiritual], recognizing the Clear Light in the Chonyid Bardo, at the moment of death, will go by 
the upward [course]. Those lower than these will be liberated — in accordance with their particular 
abilities and karmic connexions — when one or other of the Peaceful and Wrathful Deities dawneth 
upon them, during the succeeding [two] weeks, while in the Chonyid Bardo. 

There being several turning-points, liberation should be obtained at one or other of them through 
recognizing. But those of very weak karmic connexions, whose mass of obscuration is great [because 
of] evil actions, have to wander downwards and downwards to the Sidpa Bardo. Yet since there are, 
like the rungs of a ladder, many kinds of settings-face-to-face [or remindings], liberation should have 
been obtained at one or at another by recognizing. But those of the weakest karmic connexions, by not 
recognizing, fall under the influence of awe and terror. [For them] there are various graded teachings 
for closing the womb-door and for selecting the womb-door; and, at one or other of these, they should 
have apprehended the method of visualization and [applied] the illimitable virtues [thereof] for 



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exalting one's own condition. Even the lowest of them, resembling the brute order, will have been able 
-- in virtue of the application of the Refuge — to turn from entering into misery; and, [obtaining] the 
great [boon] of a perfectly endowed and freed human body, will, in the next birth, meeting with a guru 
who is a virtuous friend, obtain the [saving] vows. 

If this Doctrine arrive [while one is] in the Sidpa Bar do, it will be like the connecting up of good 
actions, resembling [thus] the placing of a trough in [the break of] a broken drain; such is this 
Teaching. 

Those of heavy evil karma cannot possibly fail to be liberated by hearing this Doctrine [and 
recognizing]. If it be asked, why? It is because, at that time, all the Peaceful and Wrathful Deities being 
present to receive [one], and the Mar as and the Interrupters likewise coming to receive [one] along 
with them, the mere hearing of this Doctrine then turneth one's views, and liberation is obtained; for 
there is not flesh and blood body to depend upon, but a mental body, which is [easily] affected. At 
whatever distance one may be wandering in the Bardo, one heareth and cometh, for one possesseth the 
slender sense of supernormal perception and foreknowledge; and, recollecting and apprehending 
instantaneously, the mind is capable of being changed [or influenced]. Therefore is it [i.e. the 
Teaching] of great use here. It is like the mechanism of a catapult. It is like the moving of a big 
wooden beam [or log] which a hundred men cannot carry, but which by being floated upon water can 
be towed wherever desired in a moment. It is like the controlling of a horse's mouth by means of a 
bridle. 

Therefore, going near [the body of] one who hath passed out of this life — if the body be there — 
impress this [upon the spirit of the deceased] vividly, again and again, until blood and the yellowish 
water-secretion begin to issue from the nostrils. At that time the corpse should not be disturbed. The 
rules to be observed for this [impressing to be efficacious] are: no animal should be slain on account of 
the deceased; nor should relatives weep or make mournful wailings near the dead body; [let the family] 
perform virtuous deeds as far as possible. 

In other ways, too, this Great Doctrine of the Bardo Thodol, as well as any other religious texts, may 
be expounded [to the dead or dying]. If this [Doctrine] be joined to the end of The Guide and recited 
[along with The Guide] it becometh very efficacious. In yet other ways it should be recited as often as 
possible. The words and meanings should be committed to memory [by every one]; and, when death is 
inevitable and the death-symptoms are recognized — strength permitting — one should recite it oneself, 
and reflect upon the meanings. If strength doth not permit, then a friend should read the Book and 
impress it vividly. There is no doubt as to its liberating. 

The Doctrine is one which liberateth by being seen, without need of meditation or of sadhana; this 
Profound Teaching liberateth by being heard or by being seen. This Profound Teaching liberateth those 
of great evil karma through the Secret Pathway. One should not forget its meaning and the words, even 
though pursued by seven mastiffs. 

By this Select Teaching, one obtaineth Buddhahood at the moment of death. Were the Buddhas of the 
Three Times [the Past, the Present, and the Future] to seek, They could not find any doctrine 
transcending this. 

Thus is completed the Profound Heart-Drops of the Bardo Doctrine, called The Bardo Thodol, which 
liberateth embodied beings. 



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[Here endeth the Tibetan book of the Dead] 



The Appendix 

[In our Manuscript (but not in the Block-Print), directly following the text of the Bardo Thodol, there 
are thirteen folios of rituals and prayers (lit., 'paths of good wishes'), which all professional readers of 
the Bardo Thodol must know, usually from memory, and apply as needed; and they are here rendered 
into English as follows:] 



[I: The Invocation of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas] 

[Instructions to the Officiant]: The invoking of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas for assistance, when 
[any one is] dying, is [thus]: 

Offer up to the Trinity whatever actual offerings can be offered [by the dying person, or by his family], 
together with mentally-created offerings: and, holding in the hand sweet-smelling incense, repeat, with 
great fervency, the following: 

O ye Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, abiding in the Ten Directions, endowed with great compassion, 
endowed with foreknowledge, endowed with the divine eye, endowed with love, affording protection 
to sentient beings, condescend through the power of your great compassion to come hither; condescend 
to accept these offerings actually laid out and mentally created. 

O ye Compassionate Ones, ye possess the wisdom of understanding, the love of compassion, the power 
of [doing] divine deeds and of protecting, in incomprehensible measure. Ye Compassionate Ones, 
(such-and-such a person) is passing from this world to the world beyond. He is leaving this world. He 
is taking a great leap. No friends [hath he]. Misery is great. [He is without] defenders, without 
protectors, without forces and kinsmen. The light of this world hath set. He goeth to another place. He 
entereth thick darkness. He falleth down a steep precipice. He entereth into a jungle solitude. He is 
pursued by Karmic Forces. He goeth into the Vast Silence. He is borne away by the Great Ocean. He is 
wafted on the Wind of Karma. He goeth in the direction where stability existeth not. He is caught by 
the Great Conflict. He is obsessed by the Great Afflicting Spirit. He is awed and terrified by the 
Messengers of the Lord of Death. Existing Karma putteth him into repeated existence. No strength 
hath he. He hath come upon a time when he hath to go alone. 

O ye Compassionate Ones, defend (so-and-so) who is defenseless. Protect him who is unprotected. Be 
his forces and his kinsmen. Protect [him] from the great gloom of the Bardo. Turn him from the red [or 
storm] wind of Karma. Turn him from the great awe and terror of the Lords of Death. Save him from 
the long narrow passage-way of the Bardo. 

O ye Compassionate Ones, let not the force of your compassion be weak; but aid him. Let him not go 
into misery [or the miserable states of existence]. Forget not your ancient vows; and let not the force of 
your compassion be weak. 



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O ye Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, let not the might of the method of your compassion be weak towards 
this one. Catch hold of him with [the hook of] your grace. Let not the sentient being fall under the 
power of evil karma. 

O ye Trinity, protect him from the miseries of the Bar do. 

Saying this with great humility and faith, let thyself and [all] others [present] repeat it thrice. 



[II:] 'The Path of Good Wishes for Saving from the Dangerous Narrow Passageway of the Bardo 1 

is [as follows]: 

[1] 

O ye Conquerors and your Sons, abiding in the Ten Directions, 

O ye ocean-like Congregation of the All-Good Conquerors, the Peaceful and the Wrathful, 
O ye Gurus and Devas, and ye DakinTs, the Faithful Ones, 
Hearken now out of [your] great love and compassions: 
Obeisance, O ye assemblage of Gurus and DakinTs; 
Out of your great love, lead us along the Path. 

[2] 

When, through illusion, I and others are wandering in the Sangsara, 

Along the bright light-path of undistracted listening, reflection, and meditation, 

May the Gurus of the Inspired Line lead us, 

May the bands of Mothers be our rear-guard, 

May we be saved from the fearful narrow passage-way of the Bardo, 
May we be placed in the state of the perfect Buddhahood. 

[3] 

When, through violent anger, [we are] wandering in the Sangsara, 
Along the bright light-path of the Mirror-like Wisdom, 
May the Bhagavan Vajra-Sattva lead us, 
May the Mother Mamakl be our rear-guard, 

May we be saved from the fearful narrow passage-way of the Bardo, 
May we be placed in the state of the perfect Buddhahood. 

[4] 

When, through intense pride, [we are] wandering in the Sangsara, 

Along the bright light-path of the Wisdom of Equality, 

May the Bhagavan Ratna-Sambhava lead us, 

May the Mother, She-of-the-Buddha-Eye, be our rear-guard, 



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May we be saved from the fearful narrow passage-way of the Bardo, 
May we be placed in the state of the perfect Buddhahood. 

[5] 

When, through great attachment, [we are] wandering in the Sangsdra, 
Along the bright light-path of the Discriminating Wisdom, 
May the Bhagavan Amitabha lead us, 

May the Mother, [She]-of- White-Raiment, be our rear-guard, 

May we be saved from the fearful narrow passage-way of the Bardo, 

May we be placed in the state of the perfect Buddhahood. 

[6] 

When, through intense jealousy, [we are] wandering in the Sangsdra, 

Along the bright light-path of the All-Performing Wisdom, 

May the Bhagavan Amogha-Siddhi lead us, 

May the Mother, the Faithful Tara, be our rear-guard 

May we be saved from the fearful narrow passage-way of the Bardo, 

May we be placed in the state of the perfect Buddhahood. 

[7] 

When, through intense stupidity, [we are] wandering in the Sangsdra, 

Along the bright light-path of the Wisdom of Reality, 

May the Bhagavan Vairochana lead us, 

May the Mother of Great Space be our rear-guard, 

May we be saved from the fearful narrow passage-way of the Bardo, 

May we be placed in the state of the perfect Buddhahood. 

[8] 

When, through intense illusion, [we are] wandering in the Sangsdra, 

Along the bright light-path of the abandonment of hallucinatory fear, awe, and terror, 

May the Bhagavans of the Wrathful Ones lead us, 

May the bands of the Wrathful Goddesses Rich-in-Space be our rear-guard, 
May we be saved from the fearful narrow passage-way of the Bardo, 
May we be placed in the state of the perfect Buddhahood. 

[9] 

When, through intense propensities, [we are] wandering in the Sangsdra, 
Along the bright light-path of the Simultaneously-born Wisdom, 
May the Knowledge-Holders lead us, 

May the bands of the Mothers, the DdkinTs, be our rear-guard, 

May we be saved from the fearful narrow passage-way of the Bardo, 

May we be placed in the state of the perfect Buddhahood. 



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[10] 



May the ethereal elements not rise up as enemies; 

May it come that we shall see the Realm of the Blue Buddha. 

May the watery elements not rise up as enemies; 

May it come that we shall see the Realm of the White Buddha. 

May the earthy elements not rise up as enemies; 

May it come that we shall see the Realm of the Yellow Buddha. 

May the fiery elements not rise up as enemies; 

May is come that we shall see the Realm of the Red Buddha. 

May the airy elements not rise up as enemies; 

May it come that we shall see the Realm of the Green Buddha. 

May the elements of the rainbow colours not rise up as enemies; 

May it come that all the Realms of the Buddhas will be seen. 

May it come that all the Sounds [in the Bardo] will be known as one's own sounds; 

May it come that all the Radiances will be known as one's own radiances; 

May it come that the Tri-Kaya will be realized in the Bardo. 



[Ill:] Here beginneth 

'The Root Verses of the Six Bardos u . 
[1] 

O now, when the Birthplace Bardo upon me is dawning! 
Abandoning idleness — there being no idleness in [a devotee's] life — 
Entering into the Reality undistractedly, listening, reflecting, and meditating, 

Carrying on to the Path [knowledge of the true nature of] appearances and of mind, may the Tri-Kaya 
be realized: 

Once that the human form hath been attained, 

May there be no time [or opportunity] in which to idle it [or human life] away. 

[2] 

O now, when the Dream Bardo upon me is dawning! 

Abandoning the inordinate corpse-like sleeping of the sleep of stupidity, 

May the consciousness undistractedly be kept in its natural state; 

Grasping the [true nature of] dreams, [may I] train [myself] in the Clear Light of Miraculous 
Transformation: 

Acting not like the brutes in slothfulness, 

May the blending of the practicing of the sleep [state] and actual [or waking] experience be highly 
valued [by me]. 

[3] 



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O now, when the Dhydna Bar do upon me is dawning! 

Abandoning the whole mass of distractions and illusions, 

May [the mind] be kept in the mood of endless undistracted Samddhi, 

May firmness both in the visualizing and in the perfected [stages] be obtained: 

At this time, when meditating one-pointedly, with [all other] actions put aside, 

May I not fall under the power of misleading, stupefying passions. 

[4] 

O now, when the Bardo of the Moment of Death upon me is dawning! 
Abandoning attraction and craving, and weakness for all [worldly things], 
May I be undistracted in the space of the bright [enlightening] teachings, 
May I [be able to] transfuse myself into the heavenly space of the Unborn: 
The hour hath come to part with this body composed of flesh and blood; 
May I know the body to be impermanent and illusory. 

[5] 

O now, when the Bardo of the Reality upon me is dawning, 

Abandoning all awe, fear, and terror of all [phenomena], 

May I recognize whatever appeareth as being mine own thought-forms, 

May I know them to be apparitions in the Intermediate State; 

[It hath been said], 'There arriveth a time when the chief turning-point is reached; 

Fear not the bands of the Peaceful and Wrathful, Who are thine own thought- forms'. 

[6] 

O now, when the Bardo of [taking] Rebirth upon me is dawning! 
One-pointedly holding fast to a single wish, 

[May I be able to] continue the course of good deeds through repeated efforts; 

May the womb-door be closed and the revulsion recollected: 

The hour hath come when energy and pure love are needed; 

[May I] cast off jealousy and meditate upon the Guru, the Father-Mother. 

[7] 

['O] procrastinating one, who thinketh not of the coming of death, 
Devoting thyself to the useless doings of this life, 
Improvident art thou in dissipating thy great opportunity; 

Mistaken, indeed, will thy purpose be now if thou returnest empty-handed [from this 

Since the Holy Dharma is known to be thy true need, 

Wilt thou not devote [thyself] to the Holy Dharma even now?' 

[Epilogue] 

Thus say the Great Adepts in devotion. 

If the chosen teaching of the guru be not borne in mind, 



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Wilt thou not [O shishya] be acting even as a traitor to thyself? 
It is of great importance that these Root Words be known. 



<a> 

[IV:] Here beginneth 

'The Path of Good Wishes which Protecteth from Fear in the Bardo': 

[1] 

When the cast [of the dice] of my life hath become exhausted, 
The relatives in this world avail me not; 
When I wander alone by myself in the Bardo, 

[O] ye Conquerors, Peaceful and Wrathful, exercising the power of your compassion, 
Let it come that the Gloom of Ignorance be dispelled. 

[2] 

When wandering alone, parted from loving friends, 
When the shapes of mine empty though-forms dawn upon me here, 
[May the] Buddhas, exerting the power of their divine compassion, 
Cause it to come that there be neither awe nor terror in the Bardo. 

[3] 

When the bright radiances of the Five Wisdoms shine upon me now, 
Let it come that I, neither awed nor terrified, may recognize them to be of myself; 
When the apparitions of the Peaceful and Wrathful forms are dawning upon me here, 
Let it come that I, obtaining the assurance of fearlessness, may recognize the Bardo. 

[4] 

When experiencing miseries, because of the force of evil karma, 
Let it come that the Conquerors, the Peaceful and Wrathful, may dispel the miseries; 
When the self-existing Sound of Reality reverberates [like] a thousand thunders, 
Let it come that they be transmuted into the sounds of the Mahayana Doctrines. 

[5] 

When [I am] unprotected, [and] karmic influences have to be followed here, 
I beseech the Conquerors, the Peaceful and the Wrathful, to protect me; 
When suffering miseries, because of the karmic influence of propensities, 
Let it come that the blissful Samadhi of the Clear Light may dawn [upon me]. 

[6] 



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When assuming supernormal rebirth in the Sidpa Bardo, 

Let it come that the perverting revelations of Mara occur not therein; 

When I arrive wheresoever I wish to, 

Let it come that I experience not the illusory fright and awe from evil karma. 

[7] 

When the roarings of savage beasts are uttered, 

Let it come that they be changed into the sacred sounds of the Six Syllables; 

When pursued by snow, rain, wind, and darkness, 

Let it come that I see with the celestial eyes of bright Wisdom. 

[8] 

Let it come that all sentient beings of the same harmonious order in the Bardo, 
Without jealousy [towards one another], obtain birth on the higher planes; 
When [destined to] suffering from intense miseries of hunger and thirst, 
Let it come that I experience not the pangs of hunger and thirst, heat and cold. 

[9] 

When I behold the future parents in union, 

Let it come that I behold them as the [Divine] Pair, the Conquerors, the Peaceful and the Wrathful 
Father and Mother; 

Obtaining the power of being born anywhere, for the good of others, 

Let it come that I obtain the perfect body, adorned with the signs and the graces. 

[10] 

Obtaining for myself the body of a male [which is] the better, 
Let it come that I liberate all who see or hear me; 
Allowing not the evil karma to follow me, 

Let it come that whatever merits [be mine] follow me and be multiplied. 

[11] 

Wherever I be born, there and then, 

Let it come that I meet the Conquerors, the Peaceful and the Wrathful Deities; 
Being able to walk and to talk as soon as [I am] born, 

Let it come that I obtain the non-forgetting intellect and remember my past life [or lives]. 

[12] 

In all the various lores, great, small, and intermediate, 

Let it come that I be able to obtain mastery merely upon hearing, reflecting, and seeing; 

In whatever place I be born, let it be auspicious; 

Let it come that all sentient beings be endowed with happiness. 



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[13] 



Ye Conquerors, Peaceful and Wrathful, in likeness to your bodies, 

[Number of your] followers, duration of your life-period, limit of your realms 

And [in likeness to the] goodness of your divine name, 

Let it come that I, and others, equal your very selves in all these. 

[14] 

By the divine grace of the innumerable All-Good Peaceful and Wrathful [Ones}, 
And by the gift-waves of the wholly pure Reality, 

[And] by the gift-waves of the one-pointed devotion of the mystic devotees, 
Let it come that whatsoever be wished for be fulfilled here and now. 

'The Path of Good Wishes Affording Protection from Fears in the Bardo' is finished. 

[V: The Colophon] 

[The Manuscript concludes with the following seven verses by the lama or scribe who compiled it, but 
he — faithful to the old lamaic teaching that the human personality should be self-abased and the 
Scriptures alone exalted before the gaze of the sentient creatures — has not recorded his name:] 

Through the perfectly pure intention of mine 
In the making of this, through the root of the merits thereof, 
[May] those protectorless sentient beings, Mothers, 
[Be] placed in the State of the Buddha: 

Let the radiant glory of auspiciousness come to illuminate the world; 

Let this Book be auspicious; 

Let virtue and goodness be perfected in every way. 



[Here endeth the Manuscript of the Bardo Thbdol.] 



http://www.summum.us/mummification/tbotd/ 
14, 02, 08 

Reformatted to fit page MD 21, 02, 08 



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